Microsoft Announces Finalists for Global Student Technology Competition

NEW YORK — May 23, 2011 — In July, more than 400 of the brightest young minds from around the world will travel to New York to showcase their innovative ideas for using technology to solve the world’s toughest problems. As the winners of regional, national and online Imagine Cup competitions, these high school and university students represent the pinnacle of innovation, creativity and entrepreneurialism from 73 countries and regions around the globe.

This year, more than 350,000 students from 183 countries registered for Microsoft Corp.’s Imagine Cup, the world’s premier student technology competition. The 124 student teams secured their places at the July 8–13 Worldwide Finals event, where they will demonstrate technological advancements in problem-solving and compete for international recognition and $215,000 (U.S.) in cash prizes in categories including Software Design, Embedded Development, Game Design, Digital Media, Windows Phone 7, IT Challenge, Interoperability Challenge, Windows 7 Touch Challenge and the Orchard Challenge. The students’ projects tackle serious humanitarian issues, often inspired by the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, such as the environment, health, accessibility and education.

“Some of history’s greatest inventions were created by students. With the Microsoft Imagine Cup, students apply their innovative thinking to real-world causes in order to generate the future’s greatest inventions as well,” said S. Somasegar, senior vice president, Developer Division at Microsoft. “To see young innovators and entrepreneurs harness their creativity and talent to benefit a greater good is absolutely inspiring.”

Last year, Team GINA from the Czech Republic was among the finalist teams that competed at the Imagine Cup 2010 Worldwide Finals in Warsaw, Poland. The team developed GINA (Geographical INformation Assistant), an innovative software system for mobile equipment that provides navigation in difficult terrain, helps coordinate rescue teams, and enables the efficient exchange of geographical information. Together with the humanitarian organization Hand for Help Europe o.s. and its partners, the GINA system has been deployed in Haiti to track the progress of the cholera epidemic, and recently has been helping rescue workers in Japan monitor areas affected by the recent earthquake and tsunami that devastated the country.

“Technology has tremendous potential to solve humanitarian problems, and the Imagine Cup gave me a platform to share my ideas for making the world a better place,” said Team GINA member Zbynek Poulicek. “The Imagine Cup was also a launching pad to start my own business and have an impact in places like Haiti and Japan.”

More information about the GINA system is available at http://www.ginasystem.com.

2011 marks the first time that the Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals event, now in its ninth year, will take place in the United States. Although the primary focus of the gathering is the competition, the finalist teams will also have opportunities to attend special training sessions, meet peers from around the world, and participate in volunteer and cultural activities while in New York. The final event of the competition, the Imagine Cup World Festival and Awards Ceremony, will take place on Wednesday, July 13.

The worldwide finalist teams are:

Microsoft also announced the winners of the Orchard Challenge and Windows 7 Touch Challenge, two of Imagine Cup’s online competitions. The first place teams in these challenges will represent their countries at the Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals:

Additional information about the worldwide finalist teams and projects can be found on the Imagine Cup blog. A sortable spreadsheet of the finalist teams and projects, as well as more information about the Microsoft Imagine Cup, is available at the Imagine Cup Virtual Pressroom.

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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