Explore New Frontiers

From its inception, HackIllinois has ventured out into the unknown on a mission to build an exceptional and creative hacking culture. Join us on February 19th - 21st, 2016 for 36 hours of hacking, collaboration and fun. 

View full rules


University students of all skill levels are eligible to compete. We’re looking for a diverse mix of technical students from any major to create exciting, eclectic hacks. If you are an interested high school student, please fill out the application; we will contact you if there are any troubles.


Teams’ demos will be judged on several criteria including "Benefit", "Technical Difficulty", "Innovation", "Viability" and "'It' Factor". For more information about judging, please see hackillinois.org/judging. 

Teams will not be told their scores during or after judging, and decisions by the judges and HackIllinois team are final.

How to enter

Each team is permitted one submission that must be received by 10:00am on Sunday, February 21st, 2016.Code submitted for judging must be produced only by team members and written during HackIllinois from the starting time on Friday, February 19th, 2016 to the submission time.

If you are continuing a previous project or using old code written by you, let us know on the project submission form. Third party libraries are allowed without notice provided that they are publicly available to any participant.

All code you create at HackIllinois is owned by you, and may be made open source at your discretion. By submitting a project, you and your team grant the HackIllinois team the unrestricted right to use your submission material, at no cost, for promotional purposes of future HackIllinois events.


HackIllinois Judges

HackIllinois Judges

Judging Criteria

  • Benefit
    This directly derives from one of our core values. We want hackers to contribute back to the field they’re in, so that their work can better benefit the community in the future.
  • Technical Difficulty
    Hacks can easily have a variety of ranges of difficulty. We want to reward hackers who demonstrate a large amount of technical prowess in the projects created.
  • Innovation
    Reinventing the wheel, no matter how awesome the wheel is, is quite banal. Exploration of ideas is a value that we want all hackers to pursue. HackIllinois is looking for novel hacks engineered from the minds of our creative hackers.
  • Viability
    We are looking for hacks that are well-built and could easily be continued to become a viable product. The hack should be more than just a pitch.
  • "It" Factor
    There are certain hacks that just cause you to say “WOW.” It is up to the discretion of the judges to identify this intangible quality of a hack that just amazes people.