From investing in the circular economy to nurturing sustainable innovations, two teams pitch game-changing ideas at AI EarthHack competition

By: Darren McAlmont

University Relations

On January 18, two teams of Waterloo students participated in the final round of competitions at the inaugural AI EarthHack competition at Microsoft’s headquarters in Toronto. Team Cyclic Geese — comprised of three third-year software engineering students — emerged as winners of one of the two grand prizes and will receive an internship at Manulife.  

The winning team’s pitch was for an application called EcoPulse, which aims to harness the power of generative AI to revolutionize the process of investing in the circular economy. It provides personalized investment recommendations by dynamically generating metrics based on individual user profiles. 

The team, made up of Valerie Fernandes, Tanmay Pilla and Ekanshh Praveen are excited that the long hours of research that went into building their app was recognized by tech giants like Microsoft and the Harvard Digital Data Design Institute. “We were innovative about our use of generative AI by going beyond generating numerical data like scores and weights, but also allowing some of the criteria itself to be generated by GPT. Doing this allowed us to best leverage the creative potential of generative AI for the project,” Fernandes says.  

As they progressed through the rounds of competition, they continued to refine the app to get to the winning product. Praveen recalls, “EcoPulse was initially command-line based, but as we were selected for the final round, we developed a web-interface so that users can interact with our tool easily. These changes helped us present EcoPulse as a game-changer in front of the judges at the final competition.” 

Read the full article from Waterloo News to learn more.