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Passion & Ingenuity Propel 4 Sri Lankan Teams to Imagine Cup 2009 Finals in Cairo

National year of English and IT sNational year of English and IT sees highest number of entries ever from Sri Lankan Student

4 Sri Lankan Teams to Imagine Cup 2009

Caption:t – Team SAS_EN, Team Mahee, Team Mashup, Competitor Aravinda P.

The much awaited and hotly competed Sri Lankan chapter of Imagine Cup 2009 drew to a riveting end with team MAHEE from Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology emerging winners in the Software Design Category. The winning team will now proceed to compete at the grand finale of the Imagine Cup scheduled from 3rd - 9th July 2009 in Cairo, Egypt.

Alongside team MAHEE, Sri Lanka is represented by 3 other teams at the Imagine Cup 2009 World Finals, creating a historical milestone for our country. Local competition winner Team MAHEE from SLIIT is joined in ranks by three teams from the University of Moratuwa.

Whilst Team MAHEE competes in the Software Design category at the global finals, team SAS_EN competes in the Embedded Development category, team Sasrutha in the MashUp category and Pramuditha Aravinda, fellow student from the same university competes in the Robotics & Algorithm category. Being able to qualify for the World Finals in diverse categories, of which three are highly technical, demonstrates the outstanding talent, quality and skill level of our students.

Of the 5 teams that presented at the final local competition, Team Legal Advisors from University of Colombo School of Computing earned second place for their project Legal Advisors while team InnoWorks from University of Moratuwa bagged third place. The 4th and 5th places were awarded to Team Sakila from University of Moratuwa and Team Aegis Software from SLIIT respectively.

Attracting over 800 participants this year in Sri Lanka alone, this competition offers a rich opportunity for young IT enthusiasts to showcase their talent and creativity on a global platform. By fostering innovation and engendering the entrepreneurial spirit amongst the country’s youth, Imagine Cup invites participants to apply themselves to finding solutions that enhance the world they live in.

A visibly excited Team Mahee spoke on the occasion: “We are thrilled to have been chosen to represent Sri Lanka at the finals of Imagine Cup 2009 in the face of such stiff competition offered by other participants. Each one of us in the team is a technology enthusiast and we are delighted to see that long hours spent over the last year perfecting our software design have not been in vain. Moreover, we are humbled by this enormous responsibility that Imagine Cup has bestowed on us to become active participants in bettering our world. We look forward to making the country proud of us and bringing home the ultimate prize at the finals of Imagine Cup 2009. We would also like to appeal to IT students islandwide to not miss out on the chance to participate in next year’s Imagine Cup competition as this experience will most definitely open up new vistas for them as it has done for us.”

Pramuditha Aravinda commenting on his achievement said, ‘I heard about the Imagine Cup about two years back and I’m always in to competitions like these, but wanted to try something different than Software design. From my childhood, things like Electronics, Computers and Robotics were my favourites.

It’s really fun to build ‘something’ that has ‘intelligence’ and the best part of the competition for me was coding the Mars Rover for the Endurance crater mission and watching it conducting the task faithfully according to my instructions. My Robot does what I tell it to do! At the same time I really enjoyed helping novice peer competitors from around the world. I’m looking forward to play with a real robot apart from coding it and to meet and share the ideas with other competitors and hope it would be a great event.’

A Keenly-Awaited Contest

The world’s premier student technology competition, Imagine Cup is a unique way in which Microsoft is encouraging global youth to apply their imagination, passion and creativity to technology innovations that can make a tangible difference in a world looking for solutions to many pressing problems. Marking its seventh year of existence, the Imagine Cup has drawn more than 300,000 students from over 100 countries and regions in this year’s competition alone.

The United Nations (UN) has identified some of the hardest challenges in the world today in its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which encompass halving extreme poverty and halting the spread of HIV/AIDS, to providing universal primary education and other vital issues, inspiring Imagine Cup 2009 to use - ‘Imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems facing us today’ as its theme this year. Participants were invited to express their ideas in a multifaceted competition that comprises nine categories and six special awards each catering to a different technological or artistic affinity. Students’ work reflects valuable, real-world solutions, while giving them the opportunity to compete for cash prizes totalling more than US$ 200,000.

Apart from creating a buzz in the worldwide arena, the run-up to the Imagine Cup stirs up much interest and curiosity amongst youth in Sri Lanka as well, considering it is the most coveted technology competition in the country.

The Managing Director/CEO Prof. Lalith B. Gamage, of The Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology commented: “I am delighted to announce that Team MAHEE from our institute has been selected as winners in the run up to the Imagine Cup Finals and that they will make the entire country proud when they share the global stage with students from around the world at the grand finale. Team MAHEE has emerged winner by coming up with a simple yet smart solution that has the power to make our planet a better place to live in. The government has shown immense foresight in naming 2009 as the ‘Year of English and IT’ and as educators we are excited to imagine that competitions such as Imagine Cup will give birth to a generation that is truly in step with a knowledge economy that Sri Lanka will become.”

A Life-Changing Experience

Participating in the Imagine Cup opens up a whole new world of opportunity for students, which encompasses knowledge sharing, finding solutions and creating vital breakthroughs that could revolutionize the world. By stepping into this hallowed community of Imagine Cup participants, Sri Lankan students benefit in manifold ways by realizing their true potential. As the Government envisions a community that is able to adopt ICT skills for its betterment, its initiatives in this regard are bearing fruit. By working closely with participants from other countries in such competitions, local students can establish a valuable network amongst the global technological community that could enhance their future career prospects. Past participants of Imagine Cup are today counted as technology leaders in the country and abroad.

The Government of Sri Lanka, under the visionary leadership of His Excellency, Mahinda Rajapakse, President of Sri Lanka, has envisioned a similar role for technology to touch the lives of the island’s people by declaring 2009 the ‘Year of English and IT’. The government has initiated several innovative projects to expand the reach of English and IT to youth in every corner of the country and through initiatives of this nature Microsoft Sri Lanka reflect their commitment & support towards achieving this far sighted objective.

Sriyan de Silva Wijeyeratne, Country Manager, Microsoft Sri Lanka, commented on the Sri Lankan leg of the Imagine Cup 2009 competition: “I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the 4 teams that will represent Sri Lanka at the Imagine Cup 2009 Finals in Cairo. We take immense pride in achieving this milestone as this is the highest number of teams representing our country at the finals in the history of Imagine Cup. Being able to have the highest number of teams from a country in Asia clearly reflects the dedication of every personnel involved in this journey. I am impressed by the overall level of creativity and innovation shown by participants and this itself shows how far we have come. I am confident that many more students will take advantage of this competition in the coming years and bring glory to our nation. I extend my heartiest felicitations to the winners and their parents for their enthusiasm and for realizing the value of participating in Imagine Cup.”

Taking their best shot at the global finals; Sri Lankan participants have outdone themselves this year by submitting outstanding solutions which rendered judging a veritable photo finish right until the end.

Mr. Earle Fernando, speaking on behalf of the panel of judges for the Imagine Cup 2009 Sri Lanka finals said: “I am indeed honoured to be invited as a judge for this keenly contested competition. I would have to say that judging the winners from a group of such talented students was not an easy task, as every participant displayed sparks of brilliance that never failed to impress us at every turn. Finally, what clinched the top spot for the leading team was their clear sighted project, which offers practical solutions that will forge a technological breakthrough in the global arena. The students have displayed amazing talents and I am delighted to see that Sri Lanka’s future lies in able hands of intelligent and IT-savvy youth brimming with confidence to face national and international challenges.”

This year, Microsoft Learning is offering students who compete in the Imagine Cup free education resources, training and certification on Microsoft technologies. Students can access these resources at:
The students retain intellectual property rights over their projects and can exercise their entrepreneurial spirit in Sri Lanka or gain venture capital funding elsewhere, reflecting the immense value of participating in a compelling global competition of this nature.

Further information about the Imagine Cup can be accessed online at: and