Microsoft Announces Contest Winners for .NET Best Student Awards 2001

REDMOND, Wash., May 3, 2002 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the winners of the Microsoft®
.NET Best Student Awards 2001, an XML Web services contest challenging North American college and university students to develop exciting new XML Web services applications for the Microsoft .NET Platform. Students from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities won the first place prize and People’s Choice Award. Johns Hopkins University students were awarded second place, and third place went to a student from the University of Bridgeport.

“The quality of the applications and services built for the .NET Platform was remarkable,” said Janie Schwark, academic program manager at Microsoft. “With such strong entries, it was very challenging to select winners from the almost 100 semifinalists. These students certainly showcase the incredible future the software industry has in store.”

Students used a variety of technologies, tools and open industry standards to create innovative Web services, including XML, SOAP, UDDI, WSDL, ASP.NET, ADO.NET, DirectX® application programming interface, Microsoft SQL Server (TM) and Microsoft Visual Studio®
.NET. First- through third-place contest winners received cash prizes and all-expenses-paid trips to last month’s Tech
Ed 2002, where they witnessed hundreds of companies showcasing the business value they are experiencing with XML Web services built for the Microsoft .NET Platform. Scholarship contributions also were awarded to the winning students’ universities.

Students in the United States and Canada who entered the contest individually or as teams with up to four members submitted proposals to develop new ideas for XML Web services centered on the .NET Platform. Almost 100 semifinalists were selected based on the strength of their proposal. Judges were impressed by the variety of proposals, many of which were class projects. Semifinalists received server space, tools and support to enable them to build their Web service.

First Place and People’s Choice Award Winner


University of Minnesota Twin Cities

Moe Khosravy, Saeed Akhter

RenderFarm.NET is a Web service designed to process and render high-resolution 3-D scenes and animation sequences to a variety of image file formats and movies. It accepts 3-D data in the form of XML and returns a URL where the finished product will be available. The back end uses accelerated hardware and DirectX to render still images into BMP, JPG, TIFF and PNG, and animation sequences into a Windows Media (TM) format. RenderFarm.NET allows anyone to create and render beautiful 3-D scenes and animation sequences regardless of the hardware configuration or software solution. More information is available at

Microsoft awarded $15,000 to this first place team and $15,000 to the University of Minnesota Twin Cities scholarship fund. Each team member was awarded a trip to Tech
Ed 2002. The University of Minnesota Twin Cities team also will be automatically entered in the worldwide .NET Best Awards 2001 contest and have the opportunity to win additional prizes for their school.

The People’s Choice award for overall best solution was voted on by all contestants. The University of Minnesota Twin Cities team members were awarded an Xbox (TM) game system and games.

Second Place Winner


Johns Hopkins University

Tanu Malik, Ani Thakar, Tamas Budavari

SkyQuery provides a distributed query execution system for the world’s astronomy community, which will enable them to run combined queries on the existing heterogeneous astronomy archives. SkyQuery will provide a simple, user-friendly interface to run distributed queries over the federation of registered astronomical archives. SkyQuery will not only provide location transparency, but also will take care of vertical fragmentation of the data and will run the query efficiently to minimize query execution costs. More information is available at

Microsoft awarded $10,000 to this second place team and $10,000 to the Johns Hopkins University scholarship fund. Each team member and one faculty advisor were awarded a trip to Tech
Ed 2002.

Third Place Winner

BrainWebber QA

University of Bridgeport

Sivashankar Sangarapillai

BrainWebber QA is a subscription-based defect tracking system that allows users to manage defects (bugs) using a wide range of applications and devices. These applications and devices access data about defects using BrainWebber QA Web Services and then render the data to provide a customized interface to end users. More information is available at

Microsoft awarded $5,000 to this third place winner and $5,000 to the University of Bridgeport scholarship fund. The student was awarded a trip to Tech
Ed 2002.

About the MSDN Academic Alliance

Academic Alliance membership program provides a complete, inexpensive resource to keep academic labs, faculty and students on the leading edge of technology. For an annual fee of $799, departments teaching courses in computer science, engineering and information systems receive access to the complete suite of Microsoft developer tools, servers and operating systems. Software in this program may be used for instructional and research purposes and may be loaded on any number of qualifying lab, faculty and student-owned computers. In addition, the MSDN AA provides a community Web site that offers a curriculum database, downloadable projects, bulletin board forums, chat sessions, webcasts, news about technology trends and issues, and many other features. More information on the MSDN Academic Alliance can be found at

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