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. 


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 

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

Hackathon Sponsors


$55,430 in prizes

HackIllinois Top Software Hacks (3)

The first place software team receives $1000, the second place team receives $750 and the third $500.

HackIllinois Top Hardware Hacks (3)

The first place hardware team receives $1000, the second place team receives $750 and the third $500.

a16z's Most Technically Challenging Hack

Each member receives an Anki Drive.

Amadeus' Best Use of Amadeus APIs (2)

Each member receives a choice between an iPad or Android Tablet

Apple's Best iOS or OS App Hack

Each member receives an Apple Watch

Capital One's Best use of the Nessie API

Each member receives a $350 Amazon Gift Card

Citadel's Best Big Data App

Prize: "The Chicago Experience" - Hotel Gift Card, Restaurant Gift Card, a tin of Garret's Popcorn

Description: An application that captures processes, searches, stores, or creates a large amount of data efficiently.

Climate Corporation's Best use of Climate API (3)

1st Place: $1000
2nd Place: $500
3rd Place: $250

CSG International's Best use CSGI's API

The winning team receives $500 and a Bean Bag Chair

Facebook's Favorite Hack

Trip for the winning team to the Global Hackathon Finals in Menlo Park, CA in Fall of 2016

GE Digital's Best use of Natural User Interface (3)

Each member will receive a leap motion controller

GoDaddy's Best Product or App for Small Business Owners

Each member receives a $100 gift card

Google's Best Use of Google Tech Hack

Each member of the winning team will receive a Huawei Android wear watch and a Google sweatshirt

Intelligent Medical Object's Best Use of IMO API for big data and/or Healthcare Software Innovation (4)

1st: JBL Flip 2 Splashproof Speakers
2nd: Quadcopter Drone w/ HD Camera
3rd: Everki Messenger Bag

Intel's Most Innovative Use of Intel Microcontrollers (3)

1st Place: Intel Edison + Grove Indoor Environment kit for Edison
2nd Place: Arduino 101 + Grove Indoor Environment kit for Edison
3rd Place: Arduino 101

John Deere's Best Use of John Deere's API to solve an agricultural problem (2)

1st Place: $800
2nd Place: $500

John Deere's Mission Prize

The best hack that helps meet the world's dramatically increasing demand for food, fuel, shelter, and infrastructure.

The winning team receives $300

KCG's Best Use of an Automated Test

Each member receives a Raspberry Pi FPGA Kit (LOGI Pi Development Board, Raspberry Pi 2 Model B and Bodel B + Case and a Raspberry Pi 2 Model B 1GB Project Board) and the team receives $350 gift card

Microsoft's Best Microsoft Hack (3)

Each member receives a Microsoft Band V2

Microsoft's Best use of Azure (3)

Each member receives a Dell Venue 8 Pro

Namecheap's Best Domain Name Registered with Namecheap

The winning team will receive $150 Namecheap credits

Palantir's Best Real World Application Hack

Each member will receive a set of PowerBeats2 Wireless

Radix's Best Use Of The .tech Domain

Each team member will receive $50

Salesforce's Most Innovative Use of the Flic Smart Button - Bonus points for integrating Salesforce technology.

Each team member will receive an Apple Watch

Solstice Mobile's Best Use of Emerging Tech to Make an Impact Hack

The winning team will receive an Internet of Things Treasure Chest

Trunk Club's Best Project for Building and/or Maintaining Relationships

Each member of the winning team will receive a $200 Trunk Club gift card

Veeva's Best Hack that Saves the Most Lives

The winning team will receive $500

Viasat's Connecting The World Hack (2)

PRIZE: Each winning team will receive $500

We’re looking for the two hacks that best demonstrates our mission of Connecting the World using any of our core technologies:
· Big Data / Analytics
· Cloud Computing
· Virtualization
· Data Visualization
· Secure Connectivity
· Mobile Applications
Here are some potential applications of these technologies: personal communications, telemedicine, e-commerce, and distance learning. Please stop by our table if you have questions, we’re excited to see your hacks!

VMWare's Best Use of Virtualization Hack

Each team member will receive a $50 Gift Card

Wolfram's Best Use of Wolfram Tech Hack

Each team member will receive $100, a Raspberry Pi, One Year of Wolfram Pro Access, 1 Year of Wolfram Developer Platform at Producer Level

Devpost Achievements

Submitting to this hackathon could earn you:

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.

Questions? Email the hackathon manager

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