Join us for the fifth iteration of HackHarvard, a 36-hour hackathon hosted on Harvard University's historic campus. This year our theme is Bold Strokes. 

Da Vinci was a masterful engineer, inventor of countless machines, but his story is incomplete without mentioning his arguably more famous contributions to art with paintings like the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper. Benjamin Franklin is best known as a prolific writer and Founding Father of the United States, but before government he made significant discoveries in electricity as a scientist. 

Technology and art are tightly wound together throughout the course of history. Both require imagination, an interpretation of the world around us, and a willingness to set aside time to practice our art. The modern easel is no longer just for paint on canvas: the code we write and the systems we build are another form of expression, cousins to classical art for our information age. 

At HackHarvard 2018, we want you to paint with bold strokes. Take to that canvas, whether it's Atom or Sublime, VIM or EMACS, and put a bit of yourself into whatever you build. Bring an idea and get started on your masterpiece.

Hackathon Sponsors


$56,135 in prizes

Best Overall Hack (Top 3) (3)

The best hack of the competition, by a number of different criteria. Not only is it novel, interesting, and useful, but it is also technically sound and exciting to many.

Most Fundable Hack

This is the project most likely to sponsor HackHarvard four years from now! You could imagine this surviving the hackathon and becoming a thing. We'll be considering pitch, the team’s expression of interest in pursuing further development, originality and innovation in product, and polish.

Most Intrinsically Motivated Hack

If this prize didn't exist, this hack wouldn't get a prize. It's not showy or flashy, but it's sweet. Of all the hacks in this category, it demonstrates the most independence from the “competition,” and the most drive towards a genuine goal.

Best Hardware Hack

This hack is the best demonstration of using hardware in a new, exciting, and/or creative way.

The Hacker Spirit Award

This hack uses something the way it wasn't intended. It shares information openly, does something for its own sake, and/or finds creative solutions to mundane problems.

Most Useless Hack

The opposite of the most fundable hack. You built something absolutely useless, yet somehow still cool or clever enough to win a prize. You probably had a lot of fun at this hackathon!

[Ripple] Best Interledger Protocol API Hack (2)

The best two hacks using Ripple's Interledger Protocol API as determined by the Ripple judging team will win prizes of $10,000 in XRP and $5,000 in XRP, respectively. Attend Ripple's tech talk at 9pm on Friday Oct 19 in SOCH P-14, or talk to their mentors for bootstrapping information!

[MassCEC] Best Clean Transportation Hack

The best clean transportation hack that will
help replace or reduce the use of fossil fuels in the transportation sector. (Sponsored by MassCEC)

[Capital One] Best Financial Hack

The best hack related to finance or solving a financial problem. $250 Amazon gift cards for each member. (Sponsored by Capital One)

Best use of Algolia

Casio CA-506C-5A Calculator Watch for each team member

Best use of Google Cloud Platform

Google Home Minis for each team member

Best Domain Name from

Raspberry Pi & PiHut Essential Kit for each team member

Best IoT Hack Using a Qualcomm Device

410C Dragonboard for each team member

Best use of

Hacker gear and swag from

Best use of

LS20 Gaming Headsets for each team member

[Facebook] Hack that Best Builds Strong Communities

Our engineers will be judging based on criteria that is focused around Facebook’s Social Mission to determine the best hack for building community, connecting the world, or taking on interesting problems that Facebook is tackling (e.g. fake news, elections, privacy, community).

Prize is an Oculus Go for each member of the winning team.

[Kensho] Best Use of Kensho Knowledge Graph API (2)

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x or Bose QuietComfort 25 headphones for each member of the winning team. A $50 Amazon gift card for each member of the runner-up team.

[Wix] Best Use of Wix Code

The team that best uses Wix Code in their project will receive one Macbook Pro per team member!

[Microsoft] Azure Champ Challenge

Visit the Microsoft booth to learn more about how you can enter the Azure Champ challenge. The winning team will receive 4 Xbox One X 1 TB consoles, and a chance to compete in Imagine Cup 2019!

[Weekly Challenge] Best Social Good Hack from Fidelity

$50 Gift Cards from Fidelity for each team member

Devpost Achievements

Submitting to this hackathon could earn you:


Anant Jain

Anant Jain
Co-Founder of Compose Labs Inc.

Marlon Misra

Marlon Misra
Co-Founder and CEO of Piccolo Labs

Neil Raina

Neil Raina
Co-Founder and CTO of Piccolo Labs

Rameez Remsudee

Rameez Remsudee
Co-Founder of Inokyo

Shannon Zhu

Shannon Zhu

Michael Suo

Michael Suo

Keenan Monks

Keenan Monks

Carl Gao

Carl Gao

Tiffany Wu

Tiffany Wu

Judging Criteria

  • Creativity
    How original is this idea, in your experience?
  • Depth
    How thoroughly does this hack solve the stated problem? Can you identify edge cases that would break the hack?
  • Technical Difficulty
    Was creating this hack technically difficult?
  • Design
    Is this hack designed to most optimally solve the stated problem?
  • Usability
    Can someone not involved in creating the hack, but with reasonable computer science experience, use the hack effectively?

Questions? Email the hackathon manager

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