Microsoft Imagine Cup Challenges Students to Tackle Tough Problems

REDMOND, Wash. — Jan. 4, 2010 — Students ages 16 and over are invited to register for Microsoft Corp.’s eighth annual U.S. Imagine Cup competition, in which students use technology to create innovative solutions that can change the world. Students must register at by Feb. 1 for the Spring Round 1 – Qualifying portion of the competition to win the chance to compete in the U.S. finals taking place in Washington, D.C., in April. At stake is $36,000 (U.S.) in prize money and a trip for the winning team to represent the nation in the worldwide finals this July in Warsaw, Poland.

The competition empowers students to use technology, innovation and creativity to help solve some of the world’s most challenging social issues outlined in the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals. From designing mobile healthcare applications to enabling access to quality education for all children and creating games that teach disease prevention, young social innovators are using technology to make a difference in the life of people around the world and in their own communities.

“The Imagine Cup is a unique opportunity for students to help solve real-world problems while gaining experience outside the classroom,” said Anthony Salcito, vice president for Worldwide Education at Microsoft. “Developing technology innovations, working in a team environment and understanding how to create a viable business plan are invaluable to students who want to successfully achieve careers in today’s world.”

Studying science and technology can provide many career opportunities for students. Despite the nation’s struggling economy, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that more than 300,000 technology-related jobs remain open due to a lack of qualified workers. However, it also estimates that only 5 percent of American college undergraduates today are pursuing degrees in science or engineering, compared with 42 percent of university students in other countries such as China and India.

The Imagine Cup provides an outlet for students to demonstrate their technical skills and critical thinking abilities, helping to expand their portfolios as they prepare for the next steps in their careers. Along with the competition, Microsoft provides several opportunities for students interested in computer science, including free access to professional developer and designer software through the DreamSpark program, training through Microsoft IT Academies, and connections to employers through the Students to Business program. More information can be found at

To win a trip to the U.S. finals, teams are selected as finalists in fall and spring competitions. Today, Microsoft is announcing the finalists for the fall competition, who will vie for the nation’s Imagine Cup title. Student teams that competed in the fall competition but did not make it to the finals are encouraged to work on their projects and enter them in the spring competition. Contests are conducted in several categories including Software Design, Game Design and Web Design.

The fall finalists include the following:

Software Design U.S. Fall Finalists

  • CDSS-AI, University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Project: A program that accurately predicts the fibrosis stage in hepatitis patients.

  • Coders Inc., Illinois Institute of Technology/Georgia Institute of Technology. Project: An online forum where non-governmental organizations, volunteers, donors and vendors can interact and share resources.

  • Mobilife, University of California, Davis. Project: A mobile diagnostic tool of vascular diseases.

  • Mogollar, University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Project: A repository for video archives to help with the increasing amount of digital data that hospitals generate.

  • Tesla Project, San José State University. Project: A business intelligence tool designed to analyze the electrical consumption of computer networks.

Game Design U.S. Fall Finalists

  • Cosmopolis, University of Southern California. Project: An educational game for primary students to interact with peers around the world.

  • Ifrit Salsa, University of Houston. Project: A game that promotes a cleaner environment by collecting, sorting and recycling different items.

  • Red Team, Springbrook High School, Maryland. Project: An educational game devoted to physics puzzles.

  • Team Name Not Found, Arizona State University. Project: A simulation game that tests players on their choices for the betterment of a virtual community.

  • To Be Announced, Central Piedmont Community College/University of North Carolina. Project: An educational game that involves a series of quest challenges.

Students in the U.S. can register and learn more about the event at Students who sign up before the deadline of Feb. 1 may enter for a chance to win the “$10,000 (U.S.) Cash for Students” sweepstakes.

More information about the Imagine Cup and registration details for students outside the U.S. are available at More information on the United Nations Millennium Development Goals can be found at Up-to-date developments on the finals competition will be available at the official Imagine Cup Blog.

About Microsoft Education

Microsoft strives to empower the 1.4 billion students in the world with an education tailored to their learning styles, capabilities and interests. To do this, we deliver relevant technology solutions, services and programs as well as partner with education communities around the world to expand the power of education for all.

About Microsoft

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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