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  • Writer's pictureLenora Thomas

35 Years of Innovation: 2006 ASTech Winners

It's fascinating to think that in 2006, Blu-ray technology was introduced alongside the launch of Amazon Web Services, the first MacBook, and Twitter. Jack Dorsey, Twitter's founder, posted the very first tweet, "just setting up my twttr," on his account that year. Additionally, jQuery, a JavaScript library designed to simplify HTML scripting, was released. Google also made headlines in late 2006 by announcing plans to purchase YouTube for $1.65 billion.

In Alberta, our technology community continued to flourish. Intellimedia, based in Edmonton, launched educational management solutions that streamlined student data sharing and collaboration among staff, students, and parents. Helcim established an e-commerce business offering affordable and transparent credit card processing for small businesses in Canada and the U.S. Hemostemix began pioneering autologous stem cell treatments for ischemia, while Exro Technologies developed innovative power control electronics to optimize energy use in electric motors and batteries.

The ASTech Awards of 2006 recognized exceptional contributions in various fields including Clean Tech, paleontology, and machine learning. Here are some notable winners:

Replicon Inc., a Calgary-based company, was celebrated for outstanding commercial success (under $25M). Their web-based software solutions improved business performance by analyzing workforce productivity, scheduling projects, and tracking employee time off. Founded in 1996 by Raj Narayanaswamy and Lakshmi Raj, Replicon expanded globally, working with major corporations like Expedia and Facebook. Though acquired by Deltek in 2023, Replicon remains headquartered in Calgary.

Dr. Philip Currie, a renowned paleontologist, made significant strides in understanding dinosaur evolution, particularly the link between birds and dinosaurs. He played a key role in developing and leading the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology and discovered new dinosaur species like Mapusaurus rosea. Dr. Currie was honored for his dynamic outreach efforts in making dinosaur science accessible and engaging to the public, and the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum in Wembley, Alberta, bears his name.

The Alberta Ingenuity Centre for Machine Learning (AICML), now known as the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii), won for Outstanding Leadership in Alberta Technology. Founded at the University of Alberta, Amii has rapidly established itself as a leading institution in technology, contributing significant innovations such as brain tumor identification software, the Poker Academy game, and a novel Cost Curve Analysis tool. Amii has played a crucial role in enhancing Alberta's status as a global leader in machine learning and artificial intelligence.

The Kananaskis Field Stations and G-8 Legacy Chair in Wildlife Ecology were recognized for Technology Public Awareness. Operated by the University of Calgary, these world-class ecological research stations in the Canadian Rockies conduct vital research on diverse topics, from bark beetles' lifecycle and animal nutrition to climate change and forest evolution. The R.B. Miller Field Station, in particular, is valued for its remote location, which supports long-term studies on various animal populations. This award highlights their efforts in advancing our understanding of Alberta's ecology and environmental impacts.

These achievements reflect Alberta's dynamic and innovative spirit in 2006, contributing to a thriving technological and scientific landscape.

In 2006, there were 10 ASTech Award Winners, you can dig into their achievements here.

This post is in partnership with Technology Alberta and the ASTech Awards, celebrating the impact of 35 years of innovation in Alberta, tying our past to our present. Our thanks to Lisa Carter and Neil Goud for their research and support.

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