toronto tech gu­rus start young

Tan­may Bak­shi is a techy YouTube star who has built apps for the App Store and writ­ten a cod­ing text­book— and he’s only 13. We asked the GTA’s smartest kid to tell us his se­crets

Toronto Life - - This City -

You started cod­ing when you were five years old. How did that hap­pen?

My dad used to work as a com­puter pro­gram­mer, and I loved to watch him work all day. Even­tu­ally, I taught my­self pro­gram­ming lan­guages by read­ing books and the In­ter­net. Tech­nol­ogy was a toy, just some­thing fun to play with.

When did you build your first app?

In Grade 3, I couldn’t get the hang of my times ta­bles. I cre­ated a sim­ple iOS app called tTables to help me prac­tise. My app was ac­cepted into the App Store on Valen­tine’s Day of 2013. That was re­ally ex­cit­ing. Now it has around 12,000 down­loads.

What are you most ex­cited about right now?

I’ve been work­ing on a tool that al­lows au­di­ol­o­gists to di­ag­nose hear­ing dis­or­ders through a neu­ral net­work. The doc­tor just needs to en­ter data about the pa­tient and the soft­ware will de­ter­mine what hear­ing dis­or­der the pa­tient has. It’s chal­leng­ing be­cause the brain’s neu­ral net­work is a black box— no­body knows what’s go­ing in­side of it. I’ve used some­thing called an at­ten­tion mech­a­nism to de­code what’s go­ing on.

Do you plan to stick around the GTA when you grow up?

Yes. I’d love to do med­i­cal re­search, and the in­flux of tech­nol­ogy com­ing into Toronto is en­cour­ag­ing stu­dents to get into the in­dus­try in the first place. So I’m not go­ing any­where.

What’s your favourite game?

I like to make games in­stead of play­ing them. I in­cor­po­rate ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence so the games play them­selves.

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