Bridging the connectivity challenge

Hackathon       -       May 3-30, 2021

Tackle a real-world problem to improve the lives of rural Albertans

Rural Connectivity Logo

Cybera and ISAIC (Industry Sandbox and Artificial Intelligence Computing) are hosting a data science hackathon on Alberta's internet access gaps. Participants will assess how rural connectivity is impacting the quality of life, economic diversification, and education across the province.

During this four-week online event, participants will work in groups or as individuals. They will be provided with open datasets, data analytics resources, access to industry experts, and professional development opportunities to polish their data science skills.

At the end of the four weeks, the participants will present their findings. A panel of data science and rural connectivity experts will assess the projects based on visualization, creativity and implementation.


  • April 5-30, 2021 Registration
  • May 3-30, 2021 Hackathon
  • June 1-4, 2021 Judging and Awards


The goals of this hackathon are to:

  1. Use available data to assess the connectivity barriers and gaps that exist throughout Alberta. This includes identifying communities that are underserved.
  2. Assess the correlation between social and economic indicators, and the speed of connectivity, to determine the role high-speed internet plays in community sustainability.
Global communications, America

Participants will need to include the following:

  • Identify a goal or hypothesis that aligns with the hackathon’s goals
  • Identify and curate open relevant open datasets
  • Transform the data and prepare it for analysis
  • Develop compelling metrics and visualizations - a data product - that supports their hypothesis
  • A story - submit your work (including code, reports, and data products such as a website) as well as a video recording of your final project demo

Registration & Eligibility

Participants must be over the age of 18 and a resident of Canada.

The hackathon IS NOT open to:

  • Organizations involved with the design, production, paid promotion, execution, or distribution of the hackathon.
  • Employees, representatives and agents of such organizations, and all members of their immediate family or household.
  • Any other individual involved with the design, production, promotion, execution, or distribution of the Challenge, and each member of their immediate family or household.
  • Any judge (defined below) or company or individual that employs a judge.
  • Any parent company, subsidiary, or other affiliate of any organization described above.


Judging will commence on June 1, 2021. Submissions will be considered based on the following criteria:

  • Social Impact - 25%
  • Creativity & Resourcefulness - 25%
  • Communicating Your Project Story - 25%
  • Technical Proficiency, Implementation and Feasibility - 25%

Award Categories

$5,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded to multiple teams and individuals. 

  • Best Overall Award
  • Social Impact Award
  • Technical Implementation ISAIC Award
  • Solo Effort Awards and Prizes

**additional categories to be determined**


Alex teaching

As part of the hackathon, participants will have the opportunity to participate in workshops led by data science and industry experts. These sessions will cover a variety of technical subjects, such as cloud computing, Git, and Docker.

Additional sessions featuring community leaders will provide an overview of the issues around rural connectivity.

These sessions are designed to help participants create a successful demo, replicating the real-world approach taken to solve data challenges.


With support from


Cybera is Alberta’s not-for-profit organization responsible for driving economic growth through the use of digital technology. Our core role is to oversee the development and operations of Alberta’s cyberinfrastructure the advanced system of networks and computers that keep government, educators, not-for-profits, and entrepreneurs at the forefront of technological change. We work with our members to ensure a connected future for all Albertans.


ISAIC [ai-zey-ihk] provides infrastructure and high-performance computing that is affordable, tailorable, and scalable. Our data sandboxes allow you to collaborate easily and safely in a virtual environment while working and experimenting with high quality data. Through our strategic partnerships, we connect you to applied knowledge and resources to help move your AI journey forward.

Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA)

The Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA) is an independent association comprising Alberta’s 69 counties and municipal districts. Since 1909, we have helped rural municipalities achieve strong, effective, local government.


CIRA’s Internet Performance Test is one of the most advanced tests of Internet speed and quality available. It is also has the public interest at its core. The test nodes are located in Internet exchange points, rather than within an ISP’s architecture. This allows CIRA to measure the actual performance of an Internet connection in real network conditions, closely representing the Internet experience of Canadian users. To assess Internet performance CIRA uses a test called the Network Diagnostic Test (NDT) provided by M-Lab.

Want to find out more? Contact our Data Science team!