Tractor Supply’s “Life out Here” AI/ML Hackathon

2800 Registered Allowed team size: 3 - 5

Winners are announced.

Project submission phase
starts on:
Sep 17, 2021, 05:00 AM
ends on:
Sep 28, 2021, 04:59 AM








Zoom Links


17th Sept

Life Out Here Hackathon Kick-Off!

9:00 AM CST

Join Rob Mills and Al Lettera as we kick off our Life Out Here Hackathon! We are excited to share about Tractor Supply’s Missions and Values, and our goals for the Life Out Here Hackathon. Rob Mills, Tractor Supply’s Executive Vice President, Chief Technology, Digital Commerce, and Strategy Officer will tell you about Tractor Supply and our Life Out Here Strategy. Al Lettera, Tractor Supply’s Vice President, Enterprise Applications Development and Operations, will speak about Tractor Supply’s first-ever global Hackathon, as well as our exciting plans for this 10-day event!

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Life Out Here - Kick Off


AI/ML Lay of the Land

10:00 AM CST

Join Nikita Namjoshi, a Developer Advocate at Google for an overview on AI/ML. Nikita helps machine learning engineers build, deploy, and scale models on GCP. She previously worked on the TensorFlow team. Outside of work you’ll find her caring for house plants and discovering new ways to lower her environmental footprint.

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Google - AI ML Lay of the land


Smart Retail – The Art and Science of What’s Possible

11:00AM CST

Join Ward and Anand from NVIDIA as they delve into the possibilities of Smart Retail

Ward Eldred is a Solution Architect Manager with a team responsible for supporting the Retail Vertical by assisting customers in solving complex business problems by leveraging NVIDIA technologies. In addition, Ward also instructs courses as part of NVIDIA’s Deep Learning Institute which focuses on teaching students the fundamentals of Deep Learning through seminars and labs. Prior to joining NVIDIA, Ward spent 20 years at Sun Microsystems as a Systems Engineer architecting HA and Cluster solutions.

Anand, the Global Business Development Head for Retail at NVIDIA, brings 25 years of valuable experience consulting, partnering, and delivering strategic and transformative value to F1000 Retailers across the globe. He has had the privilege of working across a variety of Retailers from Walmart, Target, Petco to Best Buy, Williams Sonoma, Sephora, and many others. A lifelong learner, he never wastes an opportunity to learn, adapt and shape the trends that are evolving in the Retail industry. He shares his thoughts and POVs on the impact of digital, AI, and Technology on the Retail industry via podcasts, social media and retail publications.

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NVIDIA - Smart Retail – The Art and Science of What’s Possible


AI and ML Empowering Digital Transformation in Retail.

12:00 PM CST

Join Harsha Konduri, Sr. Director – Cloud & AI Business, at Microsoft, as he goes over how AI, ML and the public cloud enable retail and consumer goods companies to deliver exceptional customer experiences that accelerate growth and loyalty through deeper customer insights and relationships.

Harsha runs Microsoft’s Cloud Scale Analytics Business in North America. His team enables several Fortune 500 companies leverage Microsoft’s Cloud and partner with Microsoft on their Cloud and AI initiatives. Prior to becoming a Director at Microsoft, Harsha held several positions within the company and led few of the largest strategic Commercial Cloud partnerships for the company. Prior to Microsoft, Harsha led ERP & analytics teams at hi-tech companies such as Oracle Retail and IBM’s Sterling Commerce. At the age of 24, he co-founded India’s First Predictive Analytics appliance in the Education Space. Harsha has a Day-Time MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and an Undergraduate Degree in Information Systems from BITS Pilani, India

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Microsoft - Leveraging AI and ML to Engineer a Connected Retail Experience


Win With AI Using a Practical Agile Approach

1:00 PM CST

Join Carlo Appugliese, Program Director and founding member of IBM's Data Science Elite Team at IBM, to learn how you can win with AI using a practical Agile approach. Artificial Intelligence continues to drive disruption in business and to compete you must infuse AI in all aspects of your business. However, AI projects having a high failure rate because of the complexity of the technology, skills and development process to infuse AI into your existing applications and business workflow.   

Carlo Appugliese is Program Director and founding member of IBM's Data Science Elite Team at IBM. Carlo built a team of scientist and created a proven hands on methodology to quickly prove value leveraging Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. Carlo has had a career in leveraging emerging technologies to drive business innovation and has previously served as software engineer, application development manager and director of innovation.

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Microsoft - Getting Started with AI and Machine Learning

Leveraging AI and ML to Engineer a Connected Retail Experience

4:00 PM CST

Join Seth Juarez, Program Manager in the Azure Artificial Intelligence Product Group at Microsoft. In this session, attendees will learn the basics of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning by looking at how those concepts map to the computer vision problem. Attendees will also learn about machine learning models, how they are built, and how they can be used in production. All of these concepts will be wrapped into a hands-on demonstration that will learn to recognize the hand symbols for the famous rock/paper/scissors game.

Seth received my Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science at UNLV with a Minor in Mathematics. Seth also completed a master’s degree at the University of Utah in the field of Computer Science. Seth is currently interested in Artificial Intelligence specifically in the realm of Machine Learning. Seth currently works as a Program Manager in the Azure Artificial Intelligence Product Group.

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Microsoft - Getting started with AI and ML 

20th Sept


IamRemarkable Workshop


9:00AM CST

What is #IamRemarkable?

The #IamRemarkable initiative aims to encourage everyone - especially women and underrepresented groups - around the world to speak openly about their accomplishments and promote themselves in the workplace and beyond.

 By April 2021 the initiative has reached over 230,000 participants across the world in 150 countries with the help of 8,000 facilitators. Over 800 companies around the world have implemented #IamRemarkable within their orgs (Unilever, Ford, HSBC, Amazon just to name a few).

#IamRemarkable is helping individuals grow in their career*:
49% of participants experienced job and/or career growth and attribute this to #IamRemarkable
82% feel more confident since taking the training
89% are more active in self-promotion thanks to the workshop

This session is limited to 25 participants. Please register in advance to save your virtual seat!

Registrations Closed

No Recording

Tiger Analytics

Leveraging AI/ML to Deliver an Omni Channel Experience

10:30 AM CST

Join Kishor Gummaraju, Chief Customer Officer and Sethuraman Janardhanan, PhD, Vice President of Consulting from Tiger Analytics as they discuss the opportunity areas for retailers to leverage AI/ML to deliver a great Omni Channel experience. The subject will be brought to life through several industry case examples and solutions. The session will cover the aspects of Data Science, Technology, Business Process and Adoption, which all need to come together to realize the goal of Omni Channel commerce.

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Tiger Analytics - Leveraging AI / ML


ML Feature Store: A Cornerstone in Modern Data Architectures for AI/ML


1:30 PM CST

Join Taimur Rashid, Chief Business Development Officer, and Bill Schoonmaker, Solution Architect, from Redis, for their session on the concept of ML feature stores.

Productionizing ML models is a significant challenge with only half of models making it into production. When developing ML models, ML teams spend most of their time engineering features, acquiring and cleaning data, and transforming it to form features. A modern data infrastructure can address these challenges, and feature stores are a promising addition to the ML technology stack with the potential to increase the efficiency of model development and production. This session introduces the concept of the feature store and provides examples of companies (AT&T, DoorDash, Zomato, and others) that have built feature stores using a variety of technologies including Redis.

Taimur Rashid is Chief Business Development Officer at Redis, where he leads corporate strategy and emerging businesses with a specific focus on AI/ML. Before Redis, Taimur was VP/GM of Customer Success at Microsoft, where he led global customer success for Microsoft Azure, and helped build one of the largest cloud focused customer success organizations in the industry. Prior to Microsoft, he led global business and market development at Amazon Web Services (AWS) for 10 years where he was one of the founding members of the AWS Developer Relations team, and scaled the business to $25B in ARR. He holds a bachelor’s in computer science from the University of Texas at Austin. Bellevue is home for Taimur, where he lives with his wife and three boys.

Bill Schoonmaker is a database professional whose career spans a variety of technologies and industries. With hands-on experience in financial services, telecommunications, healthcare, and energy, Bill is currently a Solutions Architect for Redis supporting the Southeastern United States. A Colorado Technical University alum, Bill has certifications in AWS and Azure and is a competent toastmaster. He brings a deep technical expertise in database design and implementation and is truly passionate about living on the bleeding edge with both hardware and software.

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 Redis ML Feature Store: A Cornerstone in Modern Data Architectures for AI/ML

21st Sept


Approaching AI/ML with an Entrepreneurial Spirit

9:00 AM CST

Join this session to hear from Rich Wagner, Founder and CEO, of Prevedere


Rich’s career spans more than 20 years of technology innovation and leadership, during which he has provided extraordinary value to global enterprise companies. In 2012, Rich launched Prevedere to provide corporations worldwide the ability to significantly improve their financial forecasts, projections and reporting capabilities combining internal and related global external data. With Prevedere, companies gain a competitive advantage because they are able to generate profitable business insights with accurate forecasting that encompasses ever-changing external factors.


Prior to Prevedere, Rich was Director of IT Innovation and Strategy for Momentive, a global leader in Specialty Chemicals. While at Momentive, Rich noticed a significant void in the ways companies managed financial planning and analytics, which led to the birth of Prevedere’s innovative SaaS solution that ensures companies are looking at the right factors that drive business revenue and profit.


As a forward-thinking predictive analytics thought leader, Rich has contributed to publications such as ChiefExecutive, Supply and Demand Chain Executive, Wired, Manufacturing Business Technology, CMSWire, Website Magazine and FORBES.

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Prevedere - Approaching AI/ML with an Entrepreneurial Spirit


Career Development Q&A


10:00 AM CST

Join this session to get your career questions answered by Google's Career Development experts!

Be sure to submit your questions before the session!

Submit Your Questions

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Google Career Dev QA


Driving Shopper Relevance With Digital Commerce Search

11:00 AM CST

Join Bloomreach COO Christy Augustine and Head of Technical Services Matt Sidesinger as they discuss AI and machine learning use cases in e-commerce search and navigation — the primary way customers engage with a brand’s website. Learn how AI can make a sizable impact on customer conversion by driving sophisticated product discovery, personalized recommendations, and more.

As an added bonus, hear how Christy’s journey from Software Engineer to Chief Operating Officer has informed her unique perspective on building AI/ML-backed digital experiences that meet evolving customer expectations.

Christina serves as Chief Operating Officer, leading Bloomreach’s efforts to arm customers with the tools and knowledge they need to successfully compete in demanding markets. She is a leading thinker in e-commerce, having been a manager at Bain & Co. focused on technology, retail, and strategy prior to joining Bloomreach in 2011. Christina is an experienced computer programmer who has concentrated on site search, merchandising, and payments. She helped found e-commerce teams at both Hewlett Packard and Walmart. Christina holds a BA in mathematics from Saint Mary’s College and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

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Bloomreach - Driving Shopper Relevance With Digital Commerce Search


22nd Sept


Innovating in AI with Databricks Solution Accelerators

9:00 AM CST

Join Rob Saker, Global Industry Leader for Retail & Manufacturing at Databricks, to hear his point of view on Retail and AI. He will ways of innovating in AI with Databricks Solutions Accelerators, as well as relevant use cases to help with your AI/ML strategy. As the Global Industry Leader for Retail & Manufacturing at Databricks, Rob Saker brings a wealth of industry knowledge to Databricks. Rob has successfully helped consumer goods firms such as MillerCoors and ConAgra navigate transformation with data and analytics and also served in commercial roles as a retail Chief Data Officer at Crossmark and GM for AI at NCR.

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Databricks - Innovating in AI with Databricks Solution Accelerators


AI/ML at Scale and Use Cases for Retail


11:00 AM CST

Join Paul Wallace, Sales & Marketing leader at DDN as he discusses AI/ML at scale and retail use cases.

DDN is the leader in storage systems to accelerate AI and ML workloads and is the reference architecture for Nvidia SuperPOD worldwide. DDN has created high throughput storage solutions for over 20 years and is an international corporation serving the needs of the most demanding customers, workflows, and storage requirements. AI and ML demand extreme storage performance as prototypes move to production. Retail customers are using AI and ML to solve customer service concerns, drive new revenue streams for online users, and provide a view into storage traffic to enhance the shopping experience.

Paul Wallace is Product Marketing Director at DDN, working with customers and partners on high-performance storage solutions and data management for AI systems

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DDN - AI/ML at Scale and Use Cases for Retail


Building a Growth Minded Business From an Innovative Idea

12:00 PM CST

Ready to turn your idea into a reality? Gain the tools and insights to take your ideas and build a business. In this session, Chris Todd, CEO of Theatro, will talk about the challenges and benefits of entrepreneurship and what it takes to be successful when taking an innovative idea and building a growth-minded business.

Key topics covered include:

• Failure...why is it so important and yet misunderstood and feared.
• Vitamins vs Pain your idea valuable?
• 90% of startups fail...why?
• What it takes to lead a startup.
• Reality about VCs that they don't want you to know.

Chris Todd, CEO of Theatro, is responsible for leading the company’s overall direction, strategy, and growth plans. Chris is a “roll up your sleeves” type leader who is passionate about the strategy of a business. Chris believes that almost every idea can be a winner…it’s all about figuring out the strategy to drive success!

As a co-founder, Chris has been instrumental in guiding Theatro from an early innovative concept into a fast-paced start-up company. Chris has 25+ years of experience in senior executive positions with small start-ups and large multinationals in a diverse array of industries, including software, networking, and apps for leading hardware and software companies including Cisco Systems, AppTrigger, Metaswitch, Extreme Networks, and Newbridge Networks. Chris graduated with a BBA from SMU and annually speaks on campus about entrepreneurship and innovation.

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Theatro Building a Growth Minded Business From an Innovative Idea

23rd Sept


Technical Q&A


10:00 AM CST

Join this session to get technical questions answered by an expert from Google! Questions will be answered from 10:00 AM CST - 11:00 AM CST. Don't miss your chance to get technical guidance on your Hackathon prototype.

Be sure to submit your questions before the session!

Submit Your Questions

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Google Technical Q&A


Data Science, Machine Learning, and AI Q&A

11:00 AM CST

If you have questions on Data Science, Machine Learning, or AI, join Andre Violante, Senior Data Scientist, and Ainesh Pandey, Data Science Manager, from IBM as they share their insights.

Andre manages a team of data scientists on the IBM Data Science Elite Team who support client engagements that involve machine learning and artificial intelligence tasks. He also leads data science at a startup,, which seeks to build the first-ever true stock market for high-valued sneakers. Andre has a Master’s degree in data science and about 10 years of digital analytics and data science experience. He specializes in retail and consumer analytics with experience coming from companies like Zappos, Nike, SAS, and IBM. Andre has worked with several data platforms (Oracle, Hadoop, AWS) using a variety of open-source tools, primarily R and Python. Andre enjoys building relationships and is very intellectually curious with a passion for solving real-world business problems that make an impact.

Ainesh Pandey is a Senior Data Scientist on IBM’s Data Science Elite Team. Ainesh holds Bachelor’s degrees in Computer Science and Business Data Analytics, and he has a Master’s in “data science stuff” from Carnegie Mellon University. He’s been an individual contributor and led engagements on the DSE for over three years, with a focus on forecasting and ML models for various manufacturing, retail, marketing, finance, telecommunications, and government clients.

Be sure to submit your questions before the session!

Submit Your Questions

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IBM Data Science, Machine Learning, and AI Q&A

24th Sept


The Importance of Upskilling

9:00 AM CST

The retail industry is going through a major transformation that requires organizations build a workforce that is digitally enabled and data literate. As more transactions take place online and channels of engagement multiply, employees who are tech-savvy is an imperative for all roles within retail. To address this imperative, major retailers are taking on the task to build the skills needed with continuing education offerings, machine learning boot camps and hackathons just to mention a few upskilling efforts geared to giving current and future employees the skills needed to make it in a digitized marketplace.

Join Libby Duane Adams, Chief Advocacy Officer at Alteryx as she discusses how though the Alteryx SparkED Education program thousands of learners across nearly 40 countries have gained real-world analytics experience and built the skills dynamic industries like retail need. The Alteryx SparkED program brings the next generation of analytics, machine learning and data science capabilities to existing data workers, career changers and students replacing legacy analytic curriculums rooted in spreadsheets with modern data analytics technology for users of all skillsets. This allows for more time to be spent on creative, applicable problem solving and gives these learners a competitive edge in the job market.

Join Here Alteryx The Importance of Upskilling


Technical Q&A

10:00 AM CST

Are you working on a solution for the Web Layout Optimization contest, or the Product Recommendation contest? Have questions? Join Senior Data Scientists at CDW for a Q&A session around these competitions! These experts from CDW are available to offer your team guidance from 10:00 AM CST – 11:00 AM CST.

Be sure to submit your questions before the session!

Submit Your Questions

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CDW Technical Q&A


Data & AI Q&A

11:00 AM CST

Do you have burning questions about building a career in Data and AI, building a successful Data foundation, marketplace comparisons with Data and AI? Bryan Smith, Global Technology Director for Retail & CPG at Databricks, is here to help! Bryan will be available to answer your questions on the above, and more, from 11:00 AM CST – 12:00 PM CST. Don’t miss your chance to get expert answers to your important questions!


Bryan Smith is the Global Technology Director for Retail & CPG at Databricks where he focuses on helping customers leverage data and AI to solve industry-specific challenges. Prior to joining Databricks, he was a member of the Global Black Belt team at Microsoft focused on Big Data and AI solutions. He is also a professor in the Master of Science in Business Analytics program at Southern Methodist University.

Be sure to submit your questions before the session!

Submit Your Questions

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Databricks Data & AI Q&A

27th Sept


Wrap Up Session

9:00 AM CST

As we get ready to wrap up the hackathon, join Glenn Allison bright and early on Monday morning as he discusses the outcome of our first-ever global Hackathon, and the great work all of our participating teams have done!

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Hackathon Wrap Session

28th and 29th Sept

Judge Deliberation

30th Sept

Life Out Here Hackathon

Awards Ceremony

9:00 AM CST

Join us as we wrap up our first Life Out Here Hackathon with words from our CEO, Hal Lawton! After Hal's remarks, our judges will announce the eight winning teams for each competition, and finally, the best submission out of all eight themes who will be awarded our grand prize!

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Life out here Hackathon Awards Ceremony


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