Microsoft Awards Student Technology Rock Stars at Imagine Cup 2005

REDMOND, Wash. — Aug. 1, 2005 — Microsoft Corp. today announced winners of the Imagine Cup 2005 after an intensive week of competition among finalists from a pool of nearly 17,000 students representing more than 90 countries, all vying for the chance to win cash prizes totaling close to a quarter of a million dollars.* Hailing from Russia, Team OmniMusic members Stanislav Vonog, Nikolay Surin, Alexander Popov and Ruslan Gilfanov triumphed in the competition’s Software Design Invitational and took home the venerable title of Imagine Cup 2005 World Champions.

During the final presentation, the team identified music as a universal language. They demonstrated to judges and student attendees how their technology unites musicians across geographical and cultural boundaries by performing live onstage with one team member in a remote location. The team received a standing ovation from the audience. OmniMusic enables musicians to join a community, find other musicians of complementary skills and interests, perform live in a distributed environment, and share the real-time performance broadly via IP multicasting. Musicians are able to plug their instrument into a computer or a mobile device and be connected to other musicians all over the world. Truly innovative, OmniMusic solves latency problems to enable musicians to stay in synch while performing from different locations.

When asked about his experiences at the Imagine Cup, winning team member Surin said, “The most exciting, really inspired project that dissolves boundaries between all cultures is the Imagine Cup itself. All of these projects were born because of the Imagine Cup, and if I were a judge, I would give the Imagine Cup first prize.” After the Imagine Cup, the students plan to use the first place prize of $25,000 to develop OmniMusic further and realize their dream of a collaborative online music community.

Commenting on the students gathered for this year’s competition, Microsoft® founder and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates said, “It’s amazing to see all these passionate students doing such great work. The Imagine Cup brings fun competition and tough challenges to the next generation of software innovators, and I’m excited that Microsoft is helping them succeed.”

The Imagine Cup 2005 Invitationals

Composed of nine university-level and three high-school-level invitationals designed to help students explore opportunities available to them through technology, the Imagine Cup is now in its third year and the largest, most inclusive competition of its kind. Other Imagine Cup 2005 winners included the following:

  • Algorithm Invitational: From Vietnam, Nguyen Phuong Ngoc from Nanyang Technological University (Singapore). In the Algorithm invitational competitors must use quick-thinking and pure creativity to solve a series of extremely complex algorithm-based puzzles, representing some of the most fundamental problems scientists and researchers in mathematics and computer science face. Ngoc received a cash reward of $8,000.

  • Information Technology Invitational: From France, Stefan Plizga from the INSA de Lyon. Plizga set up a complete multioffice network solution with a full range of services including directory, file, print and database servers, messaging, operations management, mobility, collaboration, Internet, and intranet services. After only 24 hours, Plizga and the other finalists were able to demonstrate secure messaging, secure remote access via VPN, and wireless Web and patch management. During the competition, students had to address unexpected challenges such as power outages, hacker attacks, network disconnections, stolen equipment and compromised passwords. Plizga received a cash reward of $8,000.

  • Office Designer Invitational: From Brazil, Andre Wilson Brotto Furtado, Adeline de Sousa Silva, Madson Menezes Costa, and Raony Mascare Nhas de Araujo of the Federal University of Pernambuco. The Office Designer invitational challenged students to build software applications on the Microsoft Office platform that help breakdown the barriers of information and bring us closer to each other. From leveraging artificial intelligence, to data exchange via Web services, each of the six finalist teams created innovative solutions to enrich the user experience on the Office platform. Team Brazil received a cash reward of $18,000 to be shared equally among the team members.

  • Short Film Invitational: From Mexico, Team Vertigen, Sandra Carolina Briones Perez, Jesus Cuahutemoc Aguiree Curiel, and Alejandro Emmanuel Felix Pimienta from the Universidad de Guadalajara. Team Vertigen created “Via,” a film that examines the communication barriers that divide two children. The Short Film Invitational challenges teams to visually represent the theme of dissolving boundaries. The teams were evaluated both on films submitted before arrival in Yokohama, as well as work conducted in a “guerilla filmmaking” competition produced onsite in Japan. Team Vertigen received a cash reward of $8,000 to be shared equally among the team members.

  • Visual Gaming Invitational: Team AI@PUT: Wojciech Jaskowsk and Jakub Gorgolewski from Poznon University of Technology, Poland. The Visual Gaming invitational brings together AI programming, 3-D gaming and nanotechnology, challenging students to program the strategy for a team of “nanobots” and save the life of the fictional Professor Hoshimi. Team AI@PUT received a cash reward of $8,000 to be shared equally among the team members.

  • Visual Gaming High School: Team FAL: Shinei Kato, age 15, from Nada High School, Japan. The Visual Gaming invitational brings together AI programming, 3-D gaming and nanotechnology, challenging students to program the strategy for a team of “nanobots” and save the life of the fictional Professor Hoshimi. Kato received a cash reward of $5,000.

S. Somasegar, corporate vice president of the Developer Division at Microsoft, announced the winners in an awards ceremony during the Imagine Cup World Festival, a celebration drawing both the Imagine Cup competitors and more than 2,000 other attendees.

Atari Corp. founder Nolan Bushnell, widely regarded as the “Father of the Video Game Industry,” addressed festival attendees, inspiring and challenging them to think beyond the barriers that increasingly threaten the global community. Commenting on the caliber of student talent at the Imagine Cup, Bushnell said, “These students are doing things with software in literally hours and days in what used to take years. This accelerates everything and that’s exciting to me.”

Attendees were also treated to a rare acoustic concert by Joel and Benji Madden, lead singers from the popular band Good Charlotte.

Imagine Cup 2006

Somasegar announced that the Imagine Cup 2006 will take place in Delhi, India, next summer and will call on the students to “imagine a world where technology enables us to live healthier lives.” Specific information will be announced in the coming months on the digital lifestyle community for students,, also launched at the Imagine Cup World Festival.

For a complete list of Imagine Cup 2005 winners, please visit the virtual pressroom at

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