Around 15 years ago, two Microsoft employees – Laurent Ellerbach and Morris Sim – came up with an idea to engage students from around the world, and to inspire them to push their technology skills and innovation to the limit. This was the birth of the Microsoft Imagine Cup.
To date, nearly two million students from more than 190 countries have engaged with the Imagine Cup programme. The competition provides an opportunity for student technologists, developers and passionate entrepreneurs from all backgrounds to work together to develop technology applications, create business plans, and gain an understanding of what it takes to bring a concept from dream to reality.
Next week, from 25 – 25 July, 54 teams from 39 countries around the world who have won their regional and national stages will travel to Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond for the 15th anniversary of the Imagine Cup World Finals – all with the aim of becoming one of the final four Microsoft-mentored teams who will compete for the ultimate prize. Interestingly, around 40% of the finalists are presenting solutions in the medical field, perhaps inspired by the medical solution presented by last year’s winners from Romania.
This year, the top prize value has been increased, with the first-placed team winning $100,000, a $125,000 Azure Grant, and a 1:1 mentoring session with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, as well as a trip to the Build 2018 developer conference.
A prestigious competition needs to be backed by the very best judges. This year’s trio of judges are drawn from the best-of-the-best across academia, Microsoft and the broader technology industry, and are each on the forefront of driving innovation in their respective fields. They are:
• Kimberly Bryant – founder of Black Girls Code, a national non-profit that provides young and pre-teen girls of color opportunities to learn in-demand skills in technology and computer programming.. Kimberly has also enjoyed a successful 25-year engineering career in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, holding a series of technical leadership roles at several Fortune 100 companies, including Genentech, Merck and Pfizer.
• Harvard University Computer Science Professor David Malan, a senior member of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and instructor for Computer Science 50 (CS50), the largest CS course at both Harvard and Yale University, and the largest online course at edX with lectures being viewed by more than a million people.
• Microsoft’s own Mark Russinovich, a Microsoft Technical Fellow and the Chief Technology Officer for Azure. Mark is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, one of the most notable Computer Science universities in the world.
The overall winners will be revealed on 27 July at 9am PST / 5pm BST / 6pm CET, so stay tuned.
Tags: Imagine Cup