Imagine Cup Gears Up for 2004

REDMOND, Wash., Nov. 14, 2003 — In a ceremony today at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Jeff Raikes, group vice president of Productivity and Business Services at Microsoft Corp., presented Tu Nguyen with a $25,000 check to honor his victory in the 2003 Imagine Cup programming competition. Inspired while working in his parents’ Vietnamese restaurant in Omaha, Nguyen developed an application designed to bridge the language gap between English-speaking waiters and Vietnamese-speaking chefs. Simultaneously, Microsoft announced that it will expand the 2004 Imagine Cup from one category to four invitationals designed to highlight a blend of technology and art.

“It is inspiring to witness the unique and inventive ways young people apply technology to their everyday lives,” Raikes said. “Tu’s innovative work is but one great example, and we are pleased to acknowledge him today.”

Nguyen was one of two U.S. winners who advanced to the world championships in the 2003 Imagine Cup, where he ultimately took first prize. He designed a Point of Delivery Systems (iPODS) solution that runs on Pocket PC devices, enabling the restaurant’s staff to communicate more effectively by translating food orders into each person’s native language. Waiters enter orders into devices that transmit data to a local server. The data is then translated from English into the chef’s native language and sent to a printer in the restaurant’s kitchen. By automating the ordering process, the application eliminates the dual-entry process and inconsistency of paper tickets, saving the staff time and the restaurant money.

Imagine a World Where Smart Technology Makes Everyday Life Easier

Just as Microsoft capped the final celebrations honoring the 2003 Imagine Cup winners, the company called on young programmers, artists and technologists around the world to bring their ideas to life in the 2004 Imagine Cup. The 2004 competition will feature four software invitationals that bring together technology and art:

  • The Software Design Invitational. This category is for products and services that seek to affect lives through smart technology and mobile devices by leveraging the power of the Microsoft®
    .NET Framework and Web services.

  • The Rendering Invitational. This invitational seeks entries from the growing field of computer-generated graphics (static or interactive animation) using Microsoft Visual Studio® .NET and DirectX®

  • The Short Film Invitational. This category will highlight the creation of digital videos that share perspectives on the culture of innovation.

  • The Algorithm Invitational. This online, individual and timed competition calls for entrants to demonstrate quick thinking and coding skills using Microsoft programming languages such as Visual Basic® .NET, Visual J#® .NET, Visual C#® .NET or Visual C++®

Now in its second year, the Imagine Cup is designed to energize the creativity and technical savvy inherent within student technologists throughout the world. After advancing through online and regional competitions around the world, student teams will convene at the world championships in Brazil to present their entries to a panel of judges from academia and the greater technology industry. Individuals and teams from more than 25 countries competed in Imagine Cup 2003, and Microsoft expects representation from approximately 40 to 50 countries in 2004.

Those interested in participating in U.S. Imagine Cup 2004 can visit to register. Complete contest details, entry guidelines and rules will be announced on Jan. 1, 2004.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

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