Let's Build a Chatbot: From the idea stage to deployment

by Randy LaFoy, Eli Krumholz, and Scott M. Ferris | at MinneBar 13 | 9:25 – 10:15 in Learn | View Schedule

One year ago, my coconspirator and I earned a grant from a Minnesota State (aka MNSCU) to build a chatbot designed to help college students. Currently, we have a basic working chatbot - we will walk you through some of the issues and solutions we found to get to where we are now.

We will discuss some of the analysis and planning it takes to get started, then get into the weeds by talking about some of the software and programs we used, and why we chose what we did.

Not only will you hear from the idea folks who got it started, from beginning to where we are right now. The instructor and the students cannot be here but we will channel their work.


Randy LaFoy

Randy LaFoy is a Renaissance Person. He has worked for Minnesota State for the last 10 years on a state-wide program designed to keep students in school, help them graduate and then help them get a job, the GPS LifePlan. He won a NISOD Excellence Award; was awarded 2017 Shark Tank Innovation Funding Award; and served as mayor. He has a TedTalk on being a ‘Renaissance Person in the 21st Century’ (9700+ views). His full bio can be found at: randylafoy.com

Eli Krumholz

Eli Krumholz, PhD, is Director of Software Development at Abilitech Medical, a medical device startup creating assistive technologies for upper limb conditions. He received his PhD in computational systems biology from University of Minnesota Twin Cities, where his research focused on using network analysis and optimization tools to study cellular metabolism. In his spare time he hacks together electronics, software, and AI/ML projects and organizes the MN Bot Makers meetup, which hosts monthly meetups covering the design, creation, and impact of chatbots.

Scott M. Ferris

I make software that works.