The 2010 Imagine Cup competition is more than just a “World Cup for Nerds,” (as described in one Seattle Times article).
Using only Microsoft software, over 400 high school and university students from 78 different countries have designed computer programs which will help combat various global problems such as hunger, poverty, education, the environment, and children’s health. The student groups will be graded according to whether the “practical use” of the software or application will actually challenge global problems. The judges of the competition come from a variety of different countries and backgrounds which include industry partners, IT and application design specialists, sponsors, and academic institutions.
“It’s about getting the next generation of innovators doing exciting things not only for the world but doing great and amazing things on the Microsoft platform,” said Jon Perera, general manager with the Microsoft Education group.
The competition is currently being held in Warsaw, Poland, and the theme is “Imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems.” The student teams will be competing for titles in a number of different categories, such as “Software Design,” “Embedded Development,” “Game Design,” “Digital Media,” and “IT Challenge.”
Microsoft will be awarding $240,000 in cash prizes, which range from $2,000 to $25,000, and will also be paying for student travel. The first place team will win $25,000, the second place team will win $10,000, and the third place prize is worth $5,000.
A group of students from the University of California have created a software program called “Mobilife” which will help doctors identify various health issues in their patients, such as diabetes, sickle cell anemia, and pediatric hypertension. The project is said to be “cost-effective” and is designed for doctors who work in “developing regions” like Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia.
Another student group from the University of Manchester have designed a software program to help victims of war and natural disaster reunite family members and inform each other of their whereabouts. Users will be able to post photographs and audio interviews via a Facebook application, and matches of different profiles are reported to relief workers.
And students from the Instituto Tecnologico de Acapulco and Universidad del Valle de México will be competing with their software program which helps promote the development of Artemisia Annua, a plant which can cure 90 percent of a malaria infection as well as other various diseases. (To view the entire list of the team projects in the 2010 Imagine Cup competition click here).
22 semi-finalists of the competition were announced on July 4th, three of which are from Malaysia. The winners will be announced on July 8th, the final day of the competition.