Microsoft Announces Kickoff to Imagine Cup 2007, World’s Premier Student Technology Competition

REDMOND, Wash. — Nov. 7, 2006 — Imagine a world where technology enables the blind to overcome obstacles; a world where mobile devices actively link doctors with their patients; a world where students explore, engage and interact regardless of geography. More than 65,000 students from 100 countries competed in Microsoft Corp.’s Imagine Cup 2006 competition, using their technology skills and talent to address these and many other health issues.

Now in its fifth year, Imagine Cup continues to challenge students around the globe to imagine a better world empowered by technology and created by their talent and innovation. Today Microsoft opened registration for Imagine Cup 2007, extending an invitation to the most talented students from all over the world to embark on the challenge to “Imagine a world where technology enables a better education for all.”

Students will compete in nine categories spanning software design and short film to challenges involving algorithms and programming. Students’ work will reflect valuable, real-world solutions that address the pressing global issue of education while giving them the opportunity to compete for generous cash prizes.

“Imagine Cup, the world’s premiere student technology competition, represents the next generation of technology and business leaders,” said Joe Wilson, director of academic initiatives in the Server and Tools Business Division at Microsoft. “The students’ creativity and passion speaks volumes about the promise of technology to really make a difference in peoples’ everyday lives, in the way we think, and in how we work and communicate. For Microsoft, this is another opportunity for us to highlight the necessity of supporting student talent in science and technology for future progress in industry.”

This year, Microsoft is calling on young programmers, artists and technologists around the world to bring their ideas to life in nine categories, each catering to a different talent:

  • Technology solutions:

    • Software design. For this category students create functional, dynamic and powerful software solutions using Microsoft® tools and technology. Competitors are asked to demonstrate innovation on the Microsoft .NET Framework and Microsoft Windows® platform as they conceive, test and build applications that can change the world for the better.

    • Embedded development. Devices are becoming smaller and more portable and are having a greater effect on everyday life. Formerly called the Windows Embedded Student ChallengE, this competition challenges students to go beyond the desktop and use their creativity to build a complete hardware and software solution using Windows Embedded CE 6.0 and the hardware provided. Teams of three to four competitors and a faculty mentor will build a working prototype of a device that can help solve real-world problems.

    • Web development. The Web has redefined how people inquire and learn, opening new possibilities for individuals to become exposed to ideas, movements and topics. This invitational calls on students to use the Web to create innovative educational sites for their peers using ASP.NET and leveraging new technologies to take Web development to the next level.

  • Skills challenges:

    • Project Hoshimi. Comic-style graphics bring to life the world of Professor Hoshimi and his faithful crew of scientists and programmers as they engage in a fantasy battle of life and death. Programmers are faced with very real challenges, and compete directly online with people around the world to see who can create the fastest program to save the day. The game requires coding skills and algorithmic ability to devise and implement strategy for a multiplayer head-to-head game. The results play out in a real-time 3-D environment for all to see.

    • IT challenge. In this category students are challenged to develop, deploy and maintain IT systems that are efficient, functional, robust and secure. Students must also demonstrate proficiency in the science of networks, databases and servers, as well as the areas of analysis and decision-making in IT environments.

    • Algorithm. Through a series of brain teasers, coding challenges and algorithmic puzzles, students discover and implement the right algorithms, attempting feats such as decoding the human genome and routing millions of packets across networks.

  • Digital arts:

    • Photography. Through a photo essay format, students are challenged to communicate a story about education using only photos as the communication medium.

    • Short film. This invitational highlights the art and science of telling a story. Students are challenged to share a perspective on the Imagine Cup theme and express themselves in the digital media of film. From concept and storyboard through shooting footage and editing, the participants must be able to create a film that moves the audience while conveying its strong purpose and meaning.

    • Interface design. Creativity and usability are the necessary ingredients of a well-designed user interface, one that contributes to a successful piece of software or Web application. This invitational challenges designers all over the world to create functional, compelling and forward-thinking user interfaces. Competitors have a unique opportunity to envision an application, connect it to the Imagine Cup theme, and show the world how their skills bring it to life.

After advancing through the online, local and regional Imagine Cup competitions, qualifying students are scheduled to convene at the world championships in August 2007 in Seoul, Korea, to present their entries to a panel of judges from academia and the technology industry. The finalists will be selected, and a worldwide winner from each category will be announced. Prizes for Imagine Cup 2007 will total more than $170,000 (U.S.) across the nine categories.

Those interested in participating in Imagine Cup 2007 or seeking additional information can visit to register and review full entry requirements for each invitational.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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