From professor to accidental entrepreneur.
Curiosity has driven Jordan Kyriakidis his whole life. It began in the lecture halls where he taught Theoretical Physics for fifteen years – striving to understand the mysteries and complexities of the universe – and has now evolved into a full-fledged company.
So how did Jordan go from professor to CEO?
“I’m not what you would call a serial entrepreneur,” he says. “I’m more of an accidental entrepreneur. I was working on a research project and teaching PhD students. I ended up starting QRA by following my nose.”
Halifax-based QRA Corp has developed two tools, QVtrace and QVscribe, that engineers and tech companies can use to analyze their software and hardware for errors in their behaviour. Essentially, Jordan and his team try to answer the question: will this system work as it has been designed and programmed to work?
What Jordan found while building his tools was something very familiar.
As we move closer and closer to a more autonomous world, with self-driving cars that we will put our families in, we have to know they’re going to work as intended.
“I discovered that some of these systems we were developing were so complex that we could start applying techniques we learned in physics — but in a context of engineering,” he explains. “We develop techniques to analyze these very complicated systems in a way to predict their behaviour and understand what they can do and what they cannot do.”
The programs Jordan has developed have proven more and more vital as the defence and aerospace industries evolve, machines become more complex and humans demand more from technology. Not only that but, as these systems become more integrated into our lives, we expect them to work reliably – every time.
What Jordan and his team have discovered is that most errors are left undetected in the first stage of design. This can lead to critical malfunctions down the line, costing companies time and money. In the case of systems like advanced auto-pilot or cruise control, lives can be at risk.
Jordan is a family man, and when he isn’t hard at work with QRA he is spending time at home relaxing with his kids.
“They give me perspective,” he says. “As we move closer and closer to a more autonomous world, with self-driving cars that we will put our families in, we have to know they’re going to work as intended.”
Jordan’s ultimate goal is to help companies and innovators spend less time fixing mistakes and more time pursuing their own innate curiosity — developing innovative products to meet new demands and creating technologies that Canadians can trust.