MIT IBM Watson AI Lab

Combining AI and the Physical World

Welcome to the IBM CHALLENGE where you'll wield the magic of AI to make incredible things happen! Whether it's in manufacturing, customer service, or everyday life, AI can turn ordinary tasks into extraordinary feats. This technology can revolutionize areas across sustainability, education, media, and more. Here's your mission:

Your task is to create a system that does the following: A. Natural Language Understanding: Craft a component that listens closely and converts spoken words into written text, even in noisy environments. This capability should also translate between languages if needed, breaking down language barriers with a wave of your AI wand.


B. AI's Apprentice: Develop a awe-inspiring mechanism that transforms the transcribed text into actions by interfacing with AI systems. These AI components can be anything from helpful chatbots to virtual assistants, turning your words into actions.

NOTE: Be sure to infuse your solution with IBM Watson Assistant, your trusty chatbot companion. This chatbot should be able to ask questions and provide context, making interactions feel like a friendly conversation with a helpful guide. This will make interactions with AI more natural and user-friendly.

Your solution should be efficient, scalable, and adaptable to different environments. The goal is to streamline communication and decision-making by harnessing the potential of AI and NLU technologies. Be on the look out for more information on available applications and data sets at the IBM table!

Tech Requirements
Place Prize
1st Place $750
2nd Place $500
3rd Place $300

The Solana Foundation

The Solana Foundation

Create a proof-of-concept application that uses the Solana blockchain. This could include NFTs, tokens, mobile apps, and other blockchain technology.

Place Prize
1st Place Tickets to the Breakpoint 2023 conference in Amsterdam.


Fostering positive relationships in Sky

Sky: Children of the Light has an amazing and vibrant community of socially minded players, and we at thatgamecompany work tirelessly to ensure that players feel safe and supported. To that end, we encourage and help foster relationships in our game through reinforcement of positive behaviors in a compassionate and supporting environment.

For this challenge, we've provided a set of 3D player telemetry data, including the time and position of movements, chat messages, instruments played, hands held, items purchased, etc. Given this data, we challenge participants to design and implement analyses and data visualizations that identify meaningful relationships within our game. For example, sentiment analysis can be used to determine the emotional tone of exchanges from chat data. We are also interested in maintaining the spirit of play in our game. For this challenge, participants can also opt to focus on identifying behaviors that attempt to compromise the integrity of our game systems, such as egregious gameplay hacks or attempted abuse of the underlying technology.

Judging Criteria

    Projects will be judged based on the following criteria:

    Effectiveness of analysis Novelty of approach Novelty of conclusions Clarity of presentation (including visuals used to convey results)

Tech Requirements
  • Software utilities that are useful for performing analysis and visualization of the data provided, including AI/ML tools, graph and 2D/3D vis tools, and game engines.
Place Prize
1st Place Choice of Steam Deck, Nintendo Switch, or $300 Amazon Gift card. To be mailed to winner after the event.
2nd Place $200 Amazon Gift card. To be mailed to winner after the event.
3rd Place $150 Amazon Gift card. To be mailed to winner after the event.


Best Generative AI Data Analysis Hack

Quantitative researchers are constantly searching for techniques that can help to quickly analyze and generate insights from datasets of varying shapes and sizes. Generative AI is quickly emerging as a technique to assist in many types of tasks, but how can it help with data? Can you find novel ways to apply ChatGPT, GPT-x or other generative AI models to the research data exploration and analysis process? Projects will be judged on their ability to create a variety of data analysis results and summary measures using generative AI, to effectively communicate or visualize these, and to discover something non-obvious and meaningful about a dataset.

Place Prize
1st Place $1,000 split among the team and an interview with the hiring manager for the Quant Dev team

Backflip AI

Most Technically Elegant Hack

At Backflip we value not just correct solutions but also the simplest solutions that will scale. We always ask ourselves, is there a simpler way to build this? Are we thinking in the correct abstractions?

Judging Criteria

    At HackMIT, we're looking for teams that address creative problems in simple ways.

    Creativity: Are you building something no one else has done before? Is your approach to the problem novel?

    Technical Difficulty: How technically complex is the project? We want to see the full extent of your skills, whatever they may be. Train a model, write low-latency software, or deploy a distributed backend!

    Completeness: Could what you built this weekend be shipped to an end user? Is what you built reasonable given the 24-hour time constraint?

    Elegance: Does your project solve a complex problem in a simple, streamlined fashion?

Tech Requirements
  • A laptop
  • Wifi
  • And a drive to build
Place Prize
1st Place Segway Ninebot E22 Electric KickScooter, 300W Motor to each team member


Create an Artificial Intelligence Application

Use Lantern as a vector store to build an AI application. Lantern is a Y Combinator W2024 startup, and we have created a PostgreSQL vector database extension to help developers build AI applications. To start this challenge, visit our website at, install our extension on a PostgreSQL database. The challenge is open-ended, you can start with any dataset in any industry or field, and you can use our database to build useful tools. Be ambitious, vector databases are very powerful! You may decide to integrate LLM API’s from OpenAI and Anthropic, but it’s not strictly necessary. Your application may simply convert unstructured data into vectors and do useful things. Bonus points: see if you can build an application without using frameworks like LangChain or Llama Index. How we’ll judge the submissions: (1) Completeness of work, (2) Creativity, (3) Scope of work

Judging Criteria

    Tech Requirements: Choose your own tech stack! Just describe the thought process behind your decision.

Place Prize
1st Place Brand new Apple AirPods Max - Space Gray

Y Combinator

Y Combinator Startup Challenge

Pitch us your “startup”!

Y Combinator's selection process for startups involves a written application and a live interview. For our challenge, we will run a mini-version of that selection process, giving you a taste of what it's really like to try and fundraise for your team + idea!

Apply with your team and idea. App submission due at 2pm on Saturday, and we'll host 5-minute interviews from 3-6pm.

Full details here:

Place Prize
1st Place Guaranteed interview for Y Combinator when you want to apply for real (no expiration); Office hours with a YC group partner; Dinner on Sunday with the YC team
2nd Place Office hours with a YC group partner; Dinner on Sunday with the YC team
3rd Place Dinner on Sunday with the YC team


Intelligent Supply Chain or ML Challenge

InterSystems is issuing a challenge to the HackMIT teams to build the most interesting and innovative application using any one of the products:

InterSystems IntegratedML -- in-database automated machine learning, the simplest way to create, deploy and use ML models to power next-generation intelligent applications.


InterSystems Supply Chain Orchestrator – combines InterSystems IRIS data platform and a set of supply chain framework and accelerators for composing supply chain solutions through various data technologies, from data engine, analytics and ML, to business processes and rules engine.

To qualify for the prize, your solution needs to use InterSystems IntegratedML or Supply Chain Orchestrator.

InterSystems will provide free access to cloud-hosted accounts and onsite mentors' support. You will be able to submit your project to one of the main tracks as well.

Full details here:

Place Prize
1st Place $2000
2nd Place $1500
3rd Place $1000


Thor's Challenge: Unleash Terra's API!

The challenge can be summarized as: build the coolest hack using Terra's API. Now onto the fun way to describe it:

3 Main elements in the challenge: Path to victory: Leading up to the challenge: sign up to our step challenge here and gather up as many steps as you can, until the day of the hackathon.

Conquer Terra's API: On the day of HackMIT, forge the coolest concept you can think of. Real-time heart rate streaming? (come to our workshop for examples!) Using users' sleep metrics & daily activity to power their next fitness decision? The choice is yours!

Claim prizes! Along the way, you might have won our step challenge, or attended our workshop to secure a Terra T-shirt (they're super cool, you ll see). You'll also be able to come find us and solve one of our many challenges to win some more merch if you succeed!

Judging Criteria

    Win the main prize by executing based on the following 3 criteria:

    Innovation We want to see ideas none of our customers are building, and that we haven't heard of before. Find correlations between daily activity and desire to eat ice cream and make a predictor app, or figure out a solution to promote your fellow MIT students not to stay locked in their room coding for too long (that might be a bit tough)

    Execution Are you an expert in UI/UX? Can you train a 20 layer network on 5 data points without overfitting? Showcase your strengths and give us a taste of what you can build! We're looking forward to being blown away by the work you can accomplish in 24 hours!

    Collaboration At the end of the day, a team is nothing but a sum of its members. Show us how you can make the best use of each member's abilities to their full potential, and leave no one behind!

Tech Requirements
  • Ideally, your own wearable to test with and develop on top of. We will be providing some wearables for use, which should be returned at the end of the hackathon (but your ideas can live on forever in your hearts rent-free)
Place Prize
1st Place Apple Watches/Samsung watches for all the winners (maybe to keep building with Terra 👀)

Care YayaHealth Technologies

Elder Tech Innovation Challenge

CareYaya Health Technologies is on a mission to advance health equity for aging populations. We provide free resources such as an on-demand care booking platform where elders can find affordable, quality companionship care provided by local healthcare students.

Place Prize
1st Place $500 + straight to final round interviews for a paid internship position
2nd Place $300 + straight to final round interviews for a paid internship position
3rd Place $200 + straight to final round interviews for a paid internship position


Best Developer Tool by Warp

Build a hack that focuses on improving the developer experience in some meaningful way - this could be tackling any part of the development lifecycle (creating, modifying or testing software)!

Judging Criteria

    Eligibility: Does the project improve the developer experience? Wow factor: Does the project stand out? Technical difficulty: How technically complex is the project? Originality: Is the project new or unique? Design: Is the project easy to use and polished?

    Note that many developer tools may not have traditional GUIs - we are referring to all relevant aspects of UI/UX design here, there's no need to add a GUI for the sake of adding one!

    API Requirements: No API requirements for this prize!

    As a sidenote, if you're on a Mac, we'd love for you to try out Warp as a terminal (! Feel free to give us your feedback at our sponsor table or in our public GitHub repository :) [Note that this will have no impact on judging.]

Place Prize
1st Place Warp branded Patagonia jackets + Eddie Bauer duffle bags for the team.