Top ML Hackathons Of 2021

Here is a curated list of the top eight ML hackathons launched in 2021.
top ML hackathons

Sprint-like competitions, that the tech community terms hackathons, often make a test-bed for data scientists and machine learning professionals, owing to the benefits they provide. A hackathon worth its salt not just helps data science and machine learning practitioners test their skills, but also brushes their abilities in cleaning a dataset, extracting insights from graphs, encoding and scaling, etc. Alongside DS practitioners and ML developers, project managers and graphic designers, too, can utilise these to develop the best solutions, or close, for a given problem statement.   

Machine learning (ML) hackathons are a great way to master one’s skill, find solutions to difficult problems, add a few highlights to one’s resume, and often make money in a fun environment. Data science communities and platforms– including the likes of MachineHack, DataCrunch and DataHack, keep launching fun competitions and hackathons, enabling tech enthusiasts to boost their skill sets. 

Analytics India Magazine has curated a list of the top ML Hackathons of 2021. 

Dare in Reality 

In association with Envision Racing and MachineHack, Genpact organised a hackathon for machine learning enthusiasts, artificial intelligence practitioners, tech enthusiasts, and data scientists in November this year. The Dare in Reality hackathon was organised to see how participants could help the Formula E team’s performance on the racetrack.

The hackathon winners were rewarded with cash prizes, the first prize being $7,000. To know details of the hackathon, click here

NeurIPS 2021 Deep Racer Challenge 

The NeurIPS 2021 Deep Racer Challenge will be providing participants with the opportunity to train a reinforcement learning agent or autonomous car. The car will learn to drive by interacting with its environment. Ultimately, the model will be tested on a real-life track with the help of a miniature AWS Deepracer car. The main motive of participants would be to get the AV to complete a lap the fastest, without the car going off the track and by avoiding all kinds of obstacles. 

The top 10 winners will receive $500 worth of AWS Credit.

IBM Z Student Contest 

Hosted by HackerEarth, the IBM Z Student Contest combines the various skills students might have or have learnt on the IBM Z Xplore platform. The solo contest involved students progressing through technical challenges to uncover the different parts of an escape vehicle. By the end of the contest, they should be able to gather all the parts of the vehicle to ultimately zoom out of the digital city by tracking the engineers scattered across the city and assembling the vehicle of their choice.

Students participating in the hackathon were recommended to complete the Fundamentals and Concepts levels on the IBM Z Xplore platform before starting the contest. The grand prize of three global winners was $1,500.

Machine Learning Challenge 

In association with MachineHack, Deloitte launched a hackathon to solve the loan defaulter problem in India. Meant for data scientists, machine learning practitioners, analytics professionals and tech enthusiasts, the Machine Learning Challenge began on November 29 and is scheduled to end on December 13. 

Pre-requisites of the course include knowledge about big datasets, underfitting versus overfitting, and the ability to optimise ‘log_loss’ to generalise well on unseen data. Winners of the hackathon stand a chance to win Rs 1 lakh. 


MachineHack, in association with consulting firm TheMathCompany, launched a hiring hackathon for machine learning practitioners and data scientists in July this year. The fortnight-long hackathon’s problem statement was forecasting the price of a car within a budget and with the best features available. For this, MachineHack created a training dataset of 9273 rows and 18 columns and a testing dataset of 8245 rows and 17 columns. 

Pre-requisite skills included big dataset, underfitting versus overfitting, multivariate regression, and the ability to optimise RMSE to generalise well on unseen data. The Mathco.thon hackathon winners stood a chance to start an analytics career with TheMathCompany.

Workation Price Prediction Challenge 

In association with MachineHack, Analytics India Magazine organised the Workation Price Prediction Challenge in March this year. Targeted towards the machine learning community, the hackathon required participants to solve the real-world problem of finding the best deals for workations. The 17-day long hackathon required participants to develop a predictive model with the help of a dataset including 21,000 rows and 15 columns. 

Winners of the hackathon received free passes to The RISING 2021

Data Analytics Olympiad 2021 

Delhi-NCR based Shiv Nadar University, in collaboration with MachineHack, launched the online Analytics Olympiad 2021 for data scientists in November this year. The problem statement was building an ML model to predict the sales of each product from each outlet of a mega mart, analysing the properties of the product in the stores, and finding ways to increase sales. 

The main aim of the hackathon was to bridge the talent gap and pave the way for data science aspirants. The grand prize was Rs 1 lakh cash. 

Optiver Realized Volatility Prediction 

Hosted by Kaggle, the Optiver Realized Volatility Prediction hackathon provided an insight to participants on the data science challenges faced by trading firm Optiver. To help participants start with the hackathon, Optiver’s team of data scientists also created a tutorial notebook, introducing the relevant financial concepts. During the competition, participants had to build models to predict the short-term volatility for stocks across sectors. The models were then tested against real market data collected during the evaluation period. 

The grand prize of the hackathon was $25,000. 

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Debolina Biswas
After diving deep into the Indian startup ecosystem, Debolina is now a Technology Journalist. When not writing, she is found reading or playing with paint brushes and palette knives. She can be reached at

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