AI for Education Global HackWeek: July 28 to Aug 11, over $19,000 in prizes!

TL;DR: is awarding up to $19K in cash prizes and computing resources for open-source AI projects solving problems in Education during the global AI for Education HackWeek (July 28 — Aug 11). Judges include Computer Science faculty from Harvard University and NLP experts from around the world, and the event is generously supported by Omidyar Network (our grand prize sponsor), IBM Watson, Google Developer Groups, Amazon Web Services, Digital Ocean, and a number of other leading tech firms. Sign up now.

Six months ago, Nikhila and I met as students at Harvard, bound by a common interest in education and a shared fascination for how recent advances in deep learning and NLP might address inefficiencies in education. We started collaborating on education-focused AI projects such as SochoBot (a tutor bot capable of real-time comprehension and Q&A), and LingoLens (a language learning app that describes images of your world to you in the language you’re trying to learn using deep image captioning).

Throughout these projects, we found open-source code, pre-trained models, datasets and tutorials created by the likes of Denny Britz ( and Andrej Karpathy to be of tremendous value. We believe that given the steep learning curve ML often requires, and the fast pace at which the field moves within academic/research silos, the ML community will continue to benefit immensely from open-source initiatives that bridge learning and informational gaps.

For this reason, Nikhila and I are building, a non-profit dedicated to developing and promoting open-source AI for education, and are excited to announce’s inaugural event: the AI for Education Global HackWeek, taking place July 28th to August 11th.

During this global HackWeek, we’re excited to offer free computing resources for all participants through the generous support of Amazon, IBM Watson, and Digital Ocean; special online workshops by Google, IBM Watson, and Amazon; $19,000 in prizes from our sponsors; and expert judges from Harvard CS faculty and members of the global ML community. (More details in the FAQs below)

We can’t wait to see what you build.

Tell me more ..

What problems can I work on for the HackWeek?

Pick any inefficiency, problem, or use case in Education you wish to address using AI, including but not limited to:

  • personalization of content and delivery
  • intelligent, adaptive assessments
  • instant question-answering
  • text summarization and machine comprehension
  • clustering and classification of student learning styles
  • clustering and classification of question intent
  • question generation from text
  • language scoring (automatic grading)

What can I create and submit during the HackWeek?

  1. Usable products: web apps, mobile apps, chatbots, Alexa skills, etc.
  2. Data sets: scrape public sources to collect data useful for future AI work in education and publish it with documentation
  3. Tutorials / how-to articles for AI-education work you’ve done in the past or are doing right now

All code, data, tutorials will be open-sourced at the end of the HackWeek on GitHub, and the winning projects will be promoted on’s website and various media channels.

What prizes can I win?

  1. $6,000 USD Grand Prize sponsored by Omidyar Network
  2. $5,000 in AWS Credits sponsored by Amazon Web Services
  3. $3,000 USD sponsored by IBM
  4. $5,000 in Google Cloud Credits sponsored by Google Developer Groups

Who’s judging?

Alexander Rush: CS professor at Harvard University; head of the Harvard NLP; ex-Facebook; expert on neural machine translation, text summarization, NLP

Denny Britz: ex-Google Brain; Stanford ML / CS; runs ML blog; expert on reinforcement learning, deep learning

François Chollet: Creator of, a widely used Python deep learning library; AI & Deep Learning researcher at Google; Global rank 17 on Kaggle

Joel Tetreault: Director of Research @ Grammarly. Previously NLP @ Yahoo Labs. Essay/language-scoring expert. Runs NLP for Education workshop.

Experts from IBM Research will also be joining the panel.

What resources will I get?

  1. $1200 of IBM Watson/Bluemix credits per participant, with an expiration date of 6 months. That’s $200 a month.
  2. $300-$500 of Google Cloud Platform credits per participant
  3. $100 AWS credits per participant for GPU training / hosting
  4. $50 Digital Ocean credits per participant for hosting

Note: You’ll need to sign-up before July 25th to get access to these resources.

In addition, is offering a curated list of resources to help you get started with your projects. With the help of industry experts, we have scoured the web to create and curate education specific resources for each track, including code for machine learning models (many with pre-trained checkpoints), tutorials on relevant concepts and cleaned datasets (some of which we’ve scraped specially for the HackWeek).

An ever-growing list of these resources is available at

Where do I have to be to participate?

Anyone can participate from anywhere in the world.

From July 28–30, there’s an optional in-person component at IIT Delhi university campus. From July 31-August 11, everyone works remotely.

Submissions will close at 11:59pm IST on August 11th and winners will be announced on August 15th.

This is a fantastic idea — how can I get involved as a partner?

At we’re excited to create a community of people that care about open-source, AI and Education. If you want to contribute in any way, as a supporter, judge, advisor or sponsor please get in touch by email or find us on Twitter @OpenEdAI.

Where can I ask questions before or during the HackWeek?

We’ve created a HackWeek channel in the community slack for any questions you might have before or during the hackathon.

Once you sign up, please invite yourself to the Community Slack discussion at We look forward to hearing from you.

Why Open-Source AI for Education?

  1. AI has the power to make Education more accessible, more affordable, higher quality, and more efficient for all.
  2. AI has and will continue to benefit greatly from open-source initiatives and the sharing of ideas, knowledge, and data.

Over the past few years, research and applications of AI have favored highly capitalized industries, relegating “AI for education”, an admittedly difficult pursuit for both economic and technology reasons, to the realm of tech blog headlines and hype.

The mission of, and of this inaugural “AI for Education” HackWeek, is to re-focus on what the computer science community can measurably achieve in this space and to inspire smart people to turn hype into results.

We hope you’ll join us.