Matthew Gaiser, 23

Hacker
Matthew Gaiser
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Matthew first found himself coming into contact with the hacker community in a route alternative to most. While many of our hackers come through hackathons, Matthew found himself joining through online innovation contests. In his second year of university, he was searching for an online internship and stumbled upon a company called MindSumo. MindSumo hosts innovation contests (a somewhat generalized hackathon only involving a pitch) with a prize pool split between the best entries. He did this for about a year and skyrocketed to the top of the leaderboard, but MindSumo is neither very technical nor is the work done in teams.

Because he enjoyed the concept and wanted to have it apply to his software work, Matthew began looking for in-person innovation events. However, most of them were still not technical at all and were mostly pitch competitions in practice. McHacks, his first hackathon, promised competition with technology, a concept which he thought would be interesting and it truly delivered on its promise. He had a great time, met a team he has hacked with 5 other times, and it inspired him to apply for nearly every hackathon he could plausibly attend in the 2019 season. When Hack the 6ix came along in August, he just kept on going and didn’t stop. By the end of the season, Matthew had won five MLH medals.

Last year, he attended one hackathon a weekend for nearly the entire school year. Starting with Hack the 6ix in August, he finished the year strong and concluded with Hack Lassonde in March. Most of the time, the hackathons were relatively close to Kingston, Ontario where he studies. Some of the farther away hackathons Matthew attended included events in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Atlanta, and Madison. In that year, he got to travel to the United States more times than in his lifetime.

Now that Matthew is working full-time as a software developer for the Calgary Parking Authority, and he finds himself missing hackathons more and more. He misses the puzzles and chasing after a goal into the early hours of the morning. He misses spending one weekend in warm Santa Barbara and the next in cosmopolitan Montreal. 

Matthew says, “One hackathon a weekend is probably not something I will ever get to do again as I can’t just sleep through Monday, but it will be a cherished experience for the rest of my life. It was such a rapid diet of fun.”

His favorite project was made a year after his first at McHacks 2019. He wanted to do something related to the Internet of Things that was relevant to the city of Montreal. The theme of many of the prizes was “smart cities.” Montreal had a major bridge collapse back in 2006 and the city is beset with infrastructure challenges, with much of it falling apart in a very visible way. One of the reasons infrastructure falls apart is because the conditions it experiences have not been accurately estimated.

Bridge Owl keeps track of the environmental factors of a bridge, especially the temperature swings, humidity, and level of usage over the course of the day. It then sends the information to an online system that puts the data through algorithms that estimate the stress experienced by the bridge. Over time, a cumulative stress score for each piece of infrastructure would be generated and the infrastructure would be inspected once a certain score was hit. 

It was an absolute hit with the judges, with many of them staying after to talk about the hack. Matthew won 2nd place overall with Bridge Owl. His hacker journey started just one year before at the same event, so it was a proud moment to have risen from a beginner hacker to one of the overall winners from McHacks 2018 to McHacks 2019.

Quick Facts

Pronouns: He/Him
Hometown: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
School: Queen's University
Graduation Date: 2019
First Hackathon: McHacks (February 2018)
Favorite Coding Language: Django, Arduino, Python
Can't Live Without: IdeaConnection.com/Challenges/
Matthew Gaiser and the Bridge Owl team at medal presenation

Matthew Gaiser, 23

Hacker
Matthew Gaiser
Share this profile

Matthew first found himself coming into contact with the hacker community in a route alternative to most. While many of our hackers come through hackathons, Matthew found himself joining through online innovation contests. In his second year of university, he was searching for an online internship and stumbled upon a company called MindSumo. MindSumo hosts innovation contests (a somewhat generalized hackathon only involving a pitch) with a prize pool split between the best entries. He did this for about a year and skyrocketed to the top of the leaderboard, but MindSumo is neither very technical nor is the work done in teams.

Because he enjoyed the concept and wanted to have it apply to his software work, Matthew began looking for in-person innovation events. However, most of them were still not technical at all and were mostly pitch competitions in practice. McHacks, his first hackathon, promised competition with technology, a concept which he thought would be interesting and it truly delivered on its promise. He had a great time, met a team he has hacked with 5 other times, and it inspired him to apply for nearly every hackathon he could plausibly attend in the 2019 season. When Hack the 6ix came along in August, he just kept on going and didn’t stop. By the end of the season, Matthew had won five MLH medals.

Last year, he attended one hackathon a weekend for nearly the entire school year. Starting with Hack the 6ix in August, he finished the year strong and concluded with Hack Lassonde in March. Most of the time, the hackathons were relatively close to Kingston, Ontario where he studies. Some of the farther away hackathons Matthew attended included events in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Atlanta, and Madison. In that year, he got to travel to the United States more times than in his lifetime.

Now that Matthew is working full-time as a software developer for the Calgary Parking Authority, and he finds himself missing hackathons more and more. He misses the puzzles and chasing after a goal into the early hours of the morning. He misses spending one weekend in warm Santa Barbara and the next in cosmopolitan Montreal. 

Matthew says, “One hackathon a weekend is probably not something I will ever get to do again as I can’t just sleep through Monday, but it will be a cherished experience for the rest of my life. It was such a rapid diet of fun.”

His favorite project was made a year after his first at McHacks 2019. He wanted to do something related to the Internet of Things that was relevant to the city of Montreal. The theme of many of the prizes was “smart cities.” Montreal had a major bridge collapse back in 2006 and the city is beset with infrastructure challenges, with much of it falling apart in a very visible way. One of the reasons infrastructure falls apart is because the conditions it experiences have not been accurately estimated.

Bridge Owl keeps track of the environmental factors of a bridge, especially the temperature swings, humidity, and level of usage over the course of the day. It then sends the information to an online system that puts the data through algorithms that estimate the stress experienced by the bridge. Over time, a cumulative stress score for each piece of infrastructure would be generated and the infrastructure would be inspected once a certain score was hit. 

It was an absolute hit with the judges, with many of them staying after to talk about the hack. Matthew won 2nd place overall with Bridge Owl. His hacker journey started just one year before at the same event, so it was a proud moment to have risen from a beginner hacker to one of the overall winners from McHacks 2018 to McHacks 2019.

Quick Facts

Pronouns: He/Him
Hometown: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
School: Queen's University
Graduation Date: 2019
First Hackathon: McHacks (February 2018)
Favorite Coding Language: Django, Arduino, Python
Can't Live Without: IdeaConnection.com/Challenges/
Share this profile
Matthew Gaiser and the Bridge Owl team at medal presenation

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