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Imagine Cup 2009

Microsoft Sri Lanka takes young geniuses to Imagine Cup 2009

Two Local Teams make it into World top 12 in 2 Categories

Team ‘SAS_EN’ Team ‘Mahee’

The Imagine Cup is one of the most anticipated events on an IT student’s calendar. This year local IT wizards showcased their brilliance to a theme apt for the dynamic environment we live in ‘imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems facing us today’. The country’s participation since 2005 has enabled Sri Lanka to be put on the digital map.

This year’s competition attracted a total of 444 students from 192 teams representing 70 countries and regions, and to which Sri Lanka contributed 4 teams, of which 1 was the winner at the local level competition and 3 were from the categories finalized online. The local creativity, ingenuity and passion enabled Team Mahee and Team SAS_EN to sail with unparalleled brilliance into the semi-finals. Team SAS-EN, had participated last year as well, and since the Imagine Cup has no restrictions on the number of times any given team can participate, such teams were able to draw on their previous experiences to develop their skills and take their potential even further.

The dynamo in charge of the program, Wellington Perera, commented on the progress made by participating teams since Sri Lanka first participated in 2005 that “At first none of the tech guys there even knew where Sri Lanka was on the map!  But this year as the teams strode into the presentation rooms in Egypt, where the competition was held, we didn’t have to introduce ourselves or our origins.  The teams that participated this year had a particular determination that was not only inspiring but made me so proud to have helped them be a part of this competition.  They weren’t there just to participate, they were there to win and by the end of the competition, everybody was commending the Sri Lankan teams and some even expected our successes to have gone so far as the finals.”

Team SAS_EN from University of Moratuwa, whose extent of preparation and attention to detail was highly commended at the competition, commented on their progress from previous years, “we represented Sri Lanka in Software Design in 2007 under team name SARA.  And the first time we participated we were a lot more nervous than we were this time.  We were more prepared for the demands of the competition and more aware of how we should advance our skills further, and this year we were  the only other team, in addition to the team from Korea, to make it to the top 12 in the Embedded Development category from APAC.”

“The experience and competitive environment of the program really brings out the best in our students, whether they are still in school or in university, and its really redefined their expertise and career in ICT.  Already so many who participated in previous years have been recruited into some of the country’s biggest IT firms, although the Sri Lankan teams didn’t make it to the finals, the gap between the top 6 and the rest is very small.  Many, including Microsoft folks, journalists, competitors from around the world commented that they were shocked to see us not making to the top 6, particularly  in Software Design, which is one of the biggest and hotly competed categories” added Wellington Perera.

Yet another team that made it to the semi finals was Team Mahee from SLIIT who said on their achievements in the competition, “the competitive element draws out the best in you - to know that you are participating with technological geniuses from different countries creates an added incentive and adrenaline for you to really apply yourself and think outside the box.  And that’s one of the reasons that we were the only team selected into the top 12 in Software Design from APAC.”

“Interacting with students from around the world and seeing their interpretations and application of technology was an extremely worthwhile experience”, added Team Sasrutha from University of Moratuwa, who competed in the Mash Up category.

Imagine Cup 2010 World Finals will be held in Poland and Microsoft Sri Lanka once again expects widespread participation from young minds of all ages and academic experiences to spin more magic in the ingenuity of technology.

“The kind of academic experience you get in a competition like Imagine Cup cannot be replicated in the local educational environment simply because interacting with people from different technological experiences and different countries, with different ideas on the use and scope of technology provides an unprecedented insight that goes beyond the environment of a single lecture hall,” said Aravindha Pramuditha from the University of Moratuwa, whose team participated for the Robotics and Algorithm category.

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