SAN DIEGO, May 23, 2004 — On the eve of Microsoft Corp.’s annual TechEd 2004 conference, Microsoft announced the top contenders in two competitions that recognize technological innovations created by the student developer and IT professional community. At a judging exhibition held today at the University of California at San Diego, three U.S. finalists for the Imagine Cup 2004 software design invitational were chosen, including the first-place team from the University of California at Los Angeles, which will head to the worldwide finals in So Paolo, Brazil, in July. In addition, Microsoft recognized winners of the Windows Server (TM) 2003 Challenge, a worldwide contest designed to recognize customers that cut costs and improved efficiencies in their business by building innovative solutions with Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server System (TM) .
“The Imagine Cup is an opportunity for students worldwide to showcase their creativity, knowledge and technical expertise to the world,” said Morris Sim, senior director of the Academic and Developer Community Group in the Servers and Tools Division at Microsoft. “These students’ achievements are truly inspiring, and the caliber of competition is high this year. We wish Team USA well at the worldwide finals next month.”
Twenty-eight students representing nine winning teams from regional competitions competed in today’s exhibition. The student teams were asked to submit an application that demonstrated the theme of imagining a world where smart technology makes everyday life easier. The top three finalists are these:
First-place winner: Chris To, William So, Tree Li and Alex Chang of the University of California at Los Angeles developed Project PICKS, a “digital concierge” that runs on mobile devices and is designed to help users answer lifestyle questions, such as where to eat. Project PICKS was built on the .NET Compact Framework with Visual Studio .NET 2003 and leverages the power of Web services and Microsoft® MapPoint®
Location Services. Team UCLA received the U.S. National Champion title, a cash reward of $8,000 to be shared equally, and a trip to the worldwide finals in So Paolo.
Second-place winner: Mark Woods, Taylor Peterson, Stuart Lim and David Smith of Washington University created ALIVE: Adaptive Learning and Interactive Virtual Education, an application to sophisticate educational techniques for educators and students. Professors can use a curriculum design editor to create tests, among other learning tools, that students can access. Team Washington University received a cash reward of $4,000.
Third-place winner: Two teams tied for third place. Dave Kaplan of University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign developed ALADIN (An Ldap ADministration Interface with .NET) to create a fast and easy way to browse and administer Ldap and Active Directory®
servers. Using Microsoft Speech Server, ALADIN can also integrate with Andover building automation software to open doors on voice command. Viswanathan Ramachandran, Sriam Thaiyar, Srinivas Vadrevu and Swami Venkataramani of Arizona State University created Holding Hands, a system designed to assist the physically disabled, such as the blind, in becoming more independent in their daily lives. Using radio frequency identification technology, a mobile device with Holding Hands can help individuals learn more about their surroundings. Both teams received a cash reward of $2,000.
“It’s exciting to know that we’ve won but it’s daunting to envision the potential we could realize,” said Chris To, a student from the UCLA winning team. “We’re enamored with the development process. Imagine Cup drove us to learn about what it’s like and to envision a product for a potential customer. We could not have done this in five months without Visual Studio .NET.”
The Imagine Cup, now in its second year, is a programming competition designed to provide an outlet for students to explore technological and artistic interests outside the classroom. More than 10,000 students from over 90 countries competed in the four Imagine Cup 2004 invitationals, including software design, rendering, algorithm and short film. Within the United States 650 students from more than 75 top research and technical universities competed in the software design invitational.
Online competitions are beginning to conclude, with finalists for the algorithm invitational made public today as well. The online algorithm competition tested students’ expertise in algorithm analysis, discrete math, combinatorics, and other math and computer science disciplines. This year’s top five finishers placed ahead of more than 3,300 competitors in two rounds of challenge. The finalists, who will advance to Brazil for the final algorithm challenge, are Xiaomin Chen from Rutgers University, Branimir Lambov from Aarhus University, Vicent Lascaux from Ecole Centrale Paris, Ying Wang from Zhongshan University, and Li Weixing from Zhongshan University.
Community voting for the short film and rendering invitationals will continue through May 31, 2004, at http://www.imaginecup.com/ . Finalists for these invitationals will be announced in June.
“These two invitationals are designed to enable students to express their art and creativity,” Sim said. “Much like a film festival, we wanted a community of peers to choose the finalists for the short film and rendering invitationals.”
Customers Improve Business by Successfully Implementing Windows Server 2003
Microsoft also rewarded winners of Round One of the Windows Server 2003 Challenge. Microsoft received 900 submissions from 72 countries during the 12 weeks of the contest. The Windows Server 2003 Challenge awarded 50 customers prizes totaling $200,000, 25 in Round One and 25 in Round Two. The grand-prize winner, Korean telecommunications provider KT, saved $15 million deploying Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server System products as part of its effort to expand service offerings and update its operations support system to meet the needs of its fast-growing subscriber base.
“Windows Server 2003 is the best application server platform, hands down,” said Seong Ik Hong, member of the technical staff at KT.
Other Windows Server 2003 Challenge winners on hand at TechEd include the following:
Don Farr Moving & Storage , a first-prize winner that upgraded its Windows NT® 4.0 network to a solution based on Microsoft Windows®
Small Business Server 2003 to streamline IT tasks, centralize data and business processes, and improve company productivity
CODA PLC , a second-prize winner that used Microsoft Windows SharePoint®
Services to develop a month-end portal called Collaborative Close to streamline complex accounting processes
Critical Care Systems , a second-prize winner that chose a Windows Server System integrated server software environment based on Windows Server 2003 to provide centralized administration and collaboration to reduce costs and improve productivity
MINDSPAN , a second-prize winner that migrated from Linux and UNIX servers to Windows Server 2003 and other technologies to reduce costs, improve services and enhance communication. Partner Liberating Technologies LLC shared the Windows Server 2003 Challenge award with MINDSPAN.
Book Currency Inc. , a third-prize winner that cut startup costs and saved time-to-market using Windows Server 2003, the Microsoft .NET Framework and ASP.NET to establish a more effective online market for used college textbooks
CONFECAMARAS , a third-prize winner that used Windows Server 2003 and .NET technologies to create a solution connecting chambers of commerce in Colombia to enable businesses to create and legalize their companies in less time and with lower costs. Partner Red Colombia SA shared the Windows Server 2003 Challenge award with CONFECAMARAS.
CROSSMARK , a third-prize winner that moved its intranet from Microsoft Windows 2000 Server to Windows Server 2003 and Microsoft Internet Information Services 6.0, providing a stable, fast platform that boosted employee productivity and reduced costs
Full solution briefs are available at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/ .
About Microsoft TechEd 2004
TechEd, one of Microsoft’s premier developer and IT professional training events, reaches more than 75,000 people worldwide annually, providing attendees with access to technical experts, the latest technical information and hands-on labs to learn the skills they need to build state-of-the-art solutions. Sponsors of TechEd 2004 include AMD, Computer Associates International Inc., Dell Inc., EMC Corp. and HP.
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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