MSFTHacks Rules

What is the judging criteria?

If you want to win the hackathon, it helps to know what the judges are looking for! Here's the scoring matrix the judges will use to select the winner:

  • Is the project's purpose and basic functionality easily understood? (/10 pts)
  • Is the project innovative either in user experience or in technical design and/or implementation (/10 pts)
  • Is the project easy to use? (/10 pts)
  • Does the project make effective and appropriate use of the major features of its chosen platform(s)? Were there significant platform features or event platforms the project could have benefitted from but failed to utilize? (/10 pts)
  • Does the project have a reasonable chance of success within its target audience (/10 pts)

If you are participating in-person, the winning team will be announced from 13:00-14:00 EST Sunday, June 5th.

Online Participation

If you are participating online, email your submission to The submission deadline is at 23:59 EST Sunday, June 5th. Judges will review your submissions and online winners will be announced June 14th at 16:00 EST.

Online submissions should include:

  • A demonstration of your working hack (e.g. a video or Office Mix)
  • Word document describing the project's purpose and basic functionality, the technical architecture of your hack and how the required components (Any one of the following: Machine Learning, Natural Language Interface,  Bots, Cognitive Services) were integrated into the hack
  • (optional) a link or your hack website or a copy of the working software

Official Rules

Microsoft Canada Inc.

Microsoft Hackathon Competition at MSFTHacks, Toronto, ON (the “Competition”)

Official Rules

  1. COMMON TERMS USED IN THESE RULES - These are the Official Rules that govern how the Competition operate . In these rules, "we," "our," and "us" refer to Microsoft Canada Inc. , the sponsor of this Competition. “You” and “Yourself” refer to an eligible entrant.
  2. COMPETITION DESCRIPTION - The Competition is a skill-based competition. The object of this Competition is to create innovative and original software applications.
  3. ELIGIBILITY - To be eligible to enter the Competition, a participant must be a legal resident of Canada and registered attendee of MSFTHacks (the “Event”).  You must be at least 16 years of age as of June 4, 2016 and are actively enrolled as a student at an accredited educational institution that grants high-school or college/university (or equivalent) degrees (including home schools) at any time between January 1, 2015 and  June 5, 2016.  If you are considered a minor in your place of residence, you must ask your parent’s or legal guardian’s permission prior to submitting an entry into this Competition.  Any potential participant who is an employee or contingent staff of Microsoft Corporation or Microsoft Canada Inc. (“Microsoft”), their affiliated companies, prize suppliers or other representatives involved in any part of the administration and execution of this Competition, or a member of the respective immediate families of such employees or anyone with whom such employees are domiciled (whether related or not) is ineligible to participate in the Competition. “Immediate family” is defined as parents, siblings, children, spouse or common law partner (regardless of where they live).  In addition, Microsoft is committed to complying with government gift and ethics rules and therefore government employees are not eligible to participate.
  4. COMPETITION PERIOD - The Competition will run from Saturday, June 4, 2016 at 2:00pm Eastern Time (“ET”) to Monday June 6, 2016 at 12:00am ET (the “Competition Period”).
  5. COMPETITION ENTRY - An eligible participant may enter the Competition by attending the MSFTHacks event in person at Bahen Centre of Information Technology located at 40 Saint George St., Toronto, Ontario, M5S 2E4 during the Competition Period or through online submission by sending submission by email to with “MSFTHacks Online Submission” in the subject line by June 5, 2016 at 11:59am ET. Up to four (4) eligible participants may submit a single entry as a team for in person submission.  Online submissions will be individual submissions. At 2:00pm ET, the MSFTHacks event will begin.  Online submissions should include the following:
    1. A demonstration of your working hack (e.g. a video or Office Mix)
    2. Documentation describing the project's purpose and basic functionality, the technical architecture of your hack and how the required components (Any one of the following: Machine Learning, Natural Language Interface, Bots, Cognitive Services) were integrated into the hack
    3. (Optional) a link or your hack website or a copy of the working software
    1. All entry materials must be presented and/or submitted in the English language unless otherwise specified.
    2. We will automatically disqualify any entrant that submits any entry or supporting materials that contain text, sound or images that we, in our sole opinion and for any reason, find vulgar, offensive, or inappropriate for public viewing, or that presents us in a negative light.
    3. By submitting an entry in this Competition, you confirm that, to the best of your knowledge:
      1. The entirety of the entry is your/your teams original work
      2. You/your teams have obtained any and all consents, approvals, or licenses required for you to submit your entry.
      3. Important note about copyright: Your team’s entire entry must only include material (including source code – both open source and third party sourced, user interface, music, video or images) that you own or that you have permission from the copyright/trademark owner to use. Your team’s entry may not include copyrighted materials (such as source code, user interface, background music, images or video) unless you own or have permission to use the materials. Ownership is not defined as purchasing a CD at a music store for replay, playing a copyright recording on your guitar or repurposing an application’s user interface - your team’s entry will be disqualified if copyrighted materials, including but not limited to these examples, are a part of your entry without appropriate licensing or permissions.  If you do use permissible copyrighted materials, you must include the permissions information by citing the artist/creator and license information as per the respective Competition Rules. Note that even material released under sites such as Creative Commons, common open source code licenses, and other similar licensing may need permission or acknowledgement as per the specific license. Note: your team’s entry will be disqualified if permissions information is not included as per the requirements in the specific Competition Rules.
      4. Important note about hardware: If your project includes a hardware component, you are not expected to provide that hardware for judging.  You may explain your complete solution through your submission documentation. Any submitted software, however, should simulate hardware-related data and functionality so that your software can at least be evaluated for user experience design, platform compatibility, and so forth. If elements of your solution cannot reasonably be simulated, describe those omissions in your submission and work around those areas as best you can to enable the judges to evaluate as much of your project as is possible.
  7. We reserve the right to disqualify or reject any entry that we, in our sole and absolute discretion, determine does not meet the above criteria. If we do not receive a sufficient number of entries meeting the entry requirements, we may, at our discretion, select fewer than the designated number of winners. The decisions of the judges are final and binding in all matters related to the Competition.
  8. COMPETITION OVERVIEW - The Competition honors the most fun, innovative, and creative project  built with Microsoft tools and technology.    Entries must use one or more of the following features:  Azure Machine Learning, Microsoft Cognitive Services, Microsoft Bot Framework.  Winners will be selected by a panel of Microsoft judges at Microsoft’s sole discretion.  Criteria will be scored on a scale of 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest) by each judge giving each team or individual a total score.  The highest average score as determined by the judging panel for online submissions will determine the online winners.  The highest average score as determined by the judging panel for in-person submissions will determine the in-person winners.  The criteria to which judges will score the entries are as follows:
    1. Is the project’s purpose and basic functionality easily understood? (Score out of 10)
    2. Is the project innovative either in user experience or in technical design and/or implementation? (Score out of 10)
    3. Is the project easy to use? (Score out of 10)
    4. Does the project make effective and appropriate use of the major features of its chosen platform(s)? (Score out of 10)
    5. Does the project show promise for success within it’s targeted audience? (Score out of 10)
  9. HOW WILL MY ENTRY POTENTIALLY BE USED? Other than what is set forth below, we are not claiming any ownership rights to your entry. However, by submitting your entry, you:
    1. Are granting us an irrevocable, royalty-free, worldwide right and license to: (i) use, review, assess, test, and otherwise analyze your entry and all its content in connection with this Competition; and (ii) feature your entry and all its content in connection with the marketing, sale, or promotion of this Competition (including but not limited to internal and external presentations, tradeshows, and screen shots of the competition entry process in press releases) in all media (now known or later developed)
    2. Agree to sign any necessary documentation that may be required for us and our designees to make use of the rights you granted above;
    3. Agree to assist us in the creation of case studies or white papers (together "Studies") detailing your entry or entries. Studies will not include any confidential participant information. Upon your approval of the Studies’ accuracy, you agree to give us permission to display the Studies including trademarks, logos, and other identifying information contained therein, on our websites and in other documentation. This documentation may take various forms, including printed materials, online articles, video, audio, and other digital recordings;
    4. Understand and acknowledge that we may have developed or commissioned materials similar or identical to your submission and you waive any claims you may have resulting from any similarities to your entry;
    5. Understand that we cannot control the incoming information you will disclose to our representatives in the course of entering, or what our representatives will remember about your entry. You also understand that we will not restrict work assignments of representatives who have had access to your entry. By entering this competition, you agree that use of information in our representatives unaided memories in the development or deployment of our products or services does not create liability for us under this agreement or copyright or trade secret law;
    6. Understand that you will not receive any compensation or credit for use of your entry, other than what is described in these official rules;
    7. Please note that during and after this Competition your entry may be posted on a website selected by us for viewing by visitors to that website. We are not responsible for any unauthorized use of your entry by visitors to this website;
    8. While we reserve these rights, we are not obligated to use your entry for any purpose, even if it has been selected as a winning entry and;
    9. If you do not want to grant us these rights to your entry, please do not enter this Competition.
    1. There are three prizes available (up to four prizes per team, one prize per individual) to be won for in person submissions, as follows: First Place: Microsoft IoT Pack for Raspberry Pi 2 - w/ Raspberry Pi  (approximate retail value of each is $185 CDN), Second Place: Microsoft Desktop Keyboard Packages (approximate retail value of each is $100 CDN), Third Place: Bluetooth Mouse Packages (approximate retail value of each is $80 CDN).  All prizes will be awarded to the winners at the event once the winners have been determined;
    2. There are three individual prizes available to be on for online submissions, as follows: First Place: Microsoft IoT Pack for Raspberry Pi 2 - w/ Raspberry Pi  (approximate retail value is $185 CDN) , Second Place: Microsoft Universal Keyboard Package (approximate retail value is $100CDN), Third Place: Bluetooth Mouse Packages (approximate retail value of each is $80 CDN)
    3. Should the in person prizes not be available at the event, the prizes will be couriered to the winner’s home address (as provided by the winner in his/her registration form from the Event) within 4 weeks of the receipt of the signed declaration and release.  Winners of prizes for online submissions will be contact directly through email. Any costs or expenses incurred by the winners in claiming or using their prizes are the responsibility of the winners;
    4. The prizes are non-transferrable and no cash alternatives will be provided.  Microsoft reserves the right to substitute the prizes described above with prizes of equal or greater value;
    5. You may not designate someone else as the winner. If you are unable or unwilling to accept your prize, we may award it to the next highest scoring team/entrant;
    6. If you accept a prize, you will be solely responsible for all applicable taxes related to accepting the prize;
    7. If you are otherwise eligible, but are considered a minor in your place of residence, then we may award the prize to your parent/legal guardian on your behalf; and
    8. Unless otherwise noted, all prizes are subject to their manufacturer’s warranty and/or terms and conditions.
  11. By entering, all participants agree to abide by the official rules and decisions of Microsoft which are final.
  12. To be declared a winner, a selected participant (or their parent/legal guardian if the selected participant is a minor) will be required to sign a declaration and release to: (a) confirm compliance with the official rules; (b) release Microsoft from all liability; (c) accept the prize as awarded; and (d) consent to the use of winner’s name, city and/or province/territory of residence, photograph, voice, image, likeness, biographical information and information about the prize, for any publicity or programming purposes, commercial or otherwise, throughout the world in any and all media used by Microsoft and its advertising and promotional agencies in connection with the Competition, without payment or compensation.
  13. The Competition is subject to all applicable federal, provincial and municipal laws. Void where prohibited.
  14. The personal information collected in connection with the administration of this Competition will be managed in accordance with Microsoft’s privacy statement which is available at
  15. Microsoft reserves the right in its sole discretion to cancel or suspend the Competition should causes beyond the control of Microsoft corrupt the administration, security, fairness, integrity or proper conduct of the Competition (such as tampering or infection by computer virus, fraud, technical failures, printing or distribution errors, or any other causes or occurrences have compromised the fairness or integrity of the Competition).
  16. Microsoft assumes no responsibility for any (i) late, lost, delayed, not received, damaged, misdirected, incomplete, defective or altered entries; (ii) failure to receive entries due to transmission failures or technical failures of any kind, including, without limitation, malfunctioning of any network, servers, access providers, hardware or software, whether originating with sender or recipient or traffic congestion on the Internet or at any web site; or (iii) any combination thereof, including any injury or related damage to entrants or any other persons, whether computer-related or resulting from participation or downloading of any materials in this Competition.
  17. In the event of any discrepancy or inconsistency between the terms and conditions of these rules and disclosures or other statements contained in any Competition-related materials, the terms and conditions of these rules shall prevail, govern and control.
  18. If you or your team attempts to compromise the integrity or the legitimate operation of this Competition, or if we have reason to believe that you or your team have compromised the integrity or the legitimate operation of this Competition by cheating, hacking, creating a bot or other automated program, or by committing fraud in any way, we may seek damages from you to the fullest extent permitted by law. Further, we may disqualify you, and ban you from participating in any of our future Competitions, so please play fairly.

Copyright 2016 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.

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