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Bennett Kanuka

Using math and software to solve real world problems

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About Me

I use Math and Open Source tools to find solutions to difficult problems. My Math and Physics education gave me a strong base for data science; my love of computers and programming has allowed me to apply it. Sometimes I write about Linux, scripting languages, and things I find interesting outside of work.

I have dual American and Canadian citizenship.


Work Experience

Data Analyst - Datavalet Technologies (July 2014 - Present)

In July 2014, Datavalet acquired BOLDstreet and I was one of 6 retained as an employee. Datavalet also manages WiFi Hotspots and collects about 10 times the amount of data as BOLDstreet.

  • Redesigned the data collection backend for all departments of Datavalet, based on the Hadoop ecosystem.
    • Managed the roles and development plan for 4 team members.
    • The original design allows for collecting and analysing 50 GB of data per day, and is horizontally scalable.
    • While designing the system, I found that my design was similar to production systems at Twitter. I contacted engineers at Twitter who helped improve the design.
  • Modified a machine learning library (PyMC) to run in parallel on Spark/Hadoop.
  • Submitted a patch to close 2 bugs in Scala (now accepted into Scala upstream).
  • Created scripts for pretty-publishing documents written in Markdown or LaTeX by our dev team.

Data Analyst - BOLDstreet Wireless Inc. (October 2012 - July 2014)

BOLDstreet managed thousands of WiFi Hotspots for well-known companies in Canada. WiFi usage metrics were recorded in a SQL database. An average of 3.7 million records were added each day.

  • Filed two patents regarding WiFi signal processing:
    • US20130167196 - System and method for remote device recognition at public hotspots
    • CA2823895 - System and method for wireless device detection, recognition and visit profiling
  • Improved a frequent SQL query which scanned 100+ million rows to require a single row lookup.
  • Focused on improving the “additivity” of our most commonly used SQL queries. This allowed us to cache and reuse the results of previous queries (often making the difference between a taxing SQL query and a cache lookup).
    • Time based queries were broken up and added using the Inclusion-Exclusion priciple.
    • Implemented a statistical estimator (98% accurate) that allowed the results of COUNT UNIQUE queries to be added.
  • Created a program to predict the movement of devices on our network (based on PageRank).
  • Implemented an algorithm to isolate the periodicities in a set of sparse, noisy measurements. This was based on a modification of the Euclidean algorithm and Fourier transforms.
  • Explored the use of Lagrangian Mechanics to predict the movement of statistical parameters over time - a previously unexplored topic.

Researcher - Queen’s University and NSERC (April 2011 - September 2011)

Co-authored a paper furthering understanding of the Laplace transform. Presented my findings at the Canadian Undergraduate Mathematics Conference at Universite Laval.


  • Advanced ability in Python
  • Advanced ability in Bash and related tools (awk, sed, etc.)
  • Moderate ability in Scala
  • “Read and modify” ability in many other languages (C, Java, etc.)

I have been using Linux since I was 9 years old and maintain a home server (VM’s, RAID, Apache, etc). My home projects tend to revolve around small electronics and home automation.


B.Sc. Honours Mathematics (Minor in Physics), Queen’s University, Kingston ON.

Notable Projects

Groups of Irreducible Quintic Polynomials
Described a method of reducing quintic polynomials using the geometry of a five-point star.
Groebner Basis Method of Automatic Theorem Proving
Explained an algorithmic method for automatically proving geometric statements.
Beta Deflection and Spectroscopy
Attempted to measure the speed of light using radioactive material and household film.


I am currently working with a team at the University of Ottawa, in conjunction with Health Canada, to analyse the concentration of radioactive Calcium in urine. The goal is to develop a method of detecting the onset of osteoporosis.

Other Achievements

  • National Gold medalist in sprint canoe, and a previous member of Team Ontario.
  • Tested >99.9 percentile in Mathematics.
  • I’ve climbed some mountains: