What is HackAI?

HackAI is a student-run annual hackathon organized by the Artificial Intelligence Society (AIS) at The University of Texas at Dallas, aiming to connect today's students with the knowledge and resources needed ot built AI related projects in the span of 24 hours. The hackathon encompasses various levels of competition tasks, and will provide challenges tackling topics such as Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning, Data Analaytics, and more!

Today, Artificial Intelligence is a buzzword that's continuously mentioned. Still, many students are unaware of what it means, the subtopics within the field, and how they can get started and nurture their interests, especially beginners. We hope to take the mystery out of this specialized niche in computer science and bring it forward to students through a hackathon edicated to featuring AI-related material. We aim for our virtual event to provide both learning and competition opportunities and connect them to professionals who can further guide them in their AI journey. So, what are you waiting for?

HackAI will be running for 24 hours, starting from 12PM March 27th to 12PM March 28th
Teams will then have 1 hour to record a presentation, and submit a project from 12PM to 1PM on March 28th.

This year, all our workshops and talks will be hosted on Hopin, while all the mentor help and social events will be on our Discord server. The full HackAI schedule can be found under the Resources tab!

To attend HackAI '21 events as an attendee, grab a General admission ticket here.


Tracks differentiate between technical requirements for proejcts and loosely between difficulty of hacker experience.

The available tracks are:

  • Track I - Novice: If you're new to AI and Machine Learning, this is for you. These projects use existing solutions of frameworks to generate low-code/no-code solutions.
  • Track II - Practitioner: If you've worked with AI before, this is where you'll want to be. The projects in this track are expected to use some datasets, having minimal use pf pre-existing frameworks, and includes presentation of metrics for created models.
  • Track III - Architect: If you have extensive experience with AI/ML, take on the challenge! Projects in this track should reflect expertise and implement high-novelty solutions to difficult problems.


HackAI General Challenge Prompt

Build an AI-based application that has potential to bring a significant positive change at scale to communities around the world.

In the general challenge, your project must be submitted to one track. 

HacKAI Sponsor Challenges

  • DeepCognition: Utilize DL Studio to devise an application that promotes environmental sustainability.
  • SignaPay: Create an applicaiton/model that impacts or helps businesses.
  • OpenAI challenge: Design a system that uses OpenAI's API and AI techniques to help with hospital administration.


Mentors will be available throughout HackAI to help out participants! You can chat with them and set up private meetings on Discord. There will be 2 types of mentors at this Hackathon:

  • Sponsor Mentors: Each company will have a representative available for you to network with or ask questions about their challenge and tools.
  • General Mentors: General Mentors include AIS tech team members and alumni who can help answer questions about the challenges, guide you if you're stuck, and/or help troubleshoot issues with your project.


Judging will be taking place between 1:00 - 3:00 PM on March 28th. Once you have submitted your project to DevPost, HackAI organizers will assign your project to a specific "table" channel on Discord, much like how an in-person hackathon would work. Between the end of the hacking period (12:00PM) and 1:00PM, we will send out a list of the projects and which channels they've been assigned to.

Once you find your project's assigned table (the corresponding channel), you will wait in the channel for judges to join. Once they do, your team can share your screen and present your project, and the judge will ask questions/give feedback, and the submit their score for your project. You will only have 2-4 minutes to present your project, so keep the presentation concise!

More judges may join later during the 2 hour period (projects are assigned multiple jugdes), at which point you will repeat the above process. After the judging period is over, HackAI organizers will compile scores to announce winners, and have a tie-breaking presentation if needed.




HackAI 2021 is only open to undergraduates, graduates and young professionals attending The University of Texas at Dallas. 

Participants must be of age 18 or older.

All majors are encouraged to apply and participate!


All submissions must include:

1. A DevPost submission of their project, including a description of the application, as well as their team name and team members.

2. A link to the complete code on GitHub.

3. A presentation to show to the judges (preferrably live).

During the judging period, teams will be meeting with judges in their respective channels on the Discord server to participate in live and personalized Q&A sessions.

Hackathon Sponsors


$1,150 in prizes

Best Overall Project

Apple Airpods Pro

Best of Track I

Amazon Echo Dot w/ Clock

Best of Track II

Polaroid Now Instant Camera

Best of Track III

Beats - Powerbeats Wireless Earphones

OpenAI - First place

$120 OpenAI API Credits

OpenAI - Second Place

$60 of OpenAI API Credits

Best of SignaPay - DeepRisk

Rocketbook Smart Notebook

OpenAI - Third Place

$60 OpenAI API credits

Devpost Achievements

Submitting to this hackathon could earn you:








Judging Criteria

  • Novelty of Idea
    Is the application unique or original? Is it different from current solutions for that problem?
  • Usefulness
    Is the hack practical? Is it something people would actually use? Does it fulfill a real need people have?
  • Functionality
    Does the product function as intended? Is it robust and easy to interact with?
  • Scalability
    Can the product be easily expanded in the future? Is the project developed with open framework(s) and use common coding conventions, for another developer to pick up?
  • Presentation
    Were they prepared? Did they successfully pitch their product? Good tone/inflection? Overall, did it give a lasting impression? etc.
  • Fit
    Does the hack adhere to the event's theme? Does it implement that theme fully or just partially?
  • Social Impact
    Does the product resemble a significant, positive change that addresses a pressing social challenge?
  • Creativity
    Does the product transcend traditional ideas? Or tackle a common problem with a fresh approach?

Questions? Email the hackathon manager

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Hackathon sponsors

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