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Spotlight on Local Innovation: Microsoft Imagine Cup Returns

One of Microsoft Sri Lankas best known and anticipated annual student competitions , Imagine Cup 2010, will be held on the 29th of April in Colombo. The competition will see students from universities and education institutes across the island compete in innovation and creativity categories for a spot within the contingent that will travel to Poland later this year to take part in the global event. The 2010 Imagine Cup challenges its participants to “imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems” encouraging young minds to reflect on the Millennium Development Goals proposed by the United Nations to generate their inventions.

“Together we can make a difference” has been the core aphorism behind this world renowned student technology competition which brings together hundreds of students from around the world each year to display their creative talents. The Imagine Cup has grown over the years and to over 300,000 students registering for last years global competition. This year Imagine Cup offers new echelons of challenges with the introduction of 3 separate awards in addition to the 4 categories of competitions. The new award additions this year have been the Interoperability Award, Touch & Tablet Accessibility Award and the Next Generation Web Award. Categories like Software Design, Embedded Development, Game Development, Robotics and Algorithm, IT Challenge, Mash Up, Photography, Short Film and Design give students an unlimited scope to work with. This year, the local competition received an unprecedented number of entries with over 25 entries applying to compete.

Speaking on this year’s competition and his hopes for the teams Mr. Wellington Perera, Director - Developer Platform Evangelism, Microsoft Sri Lanka said “Through the Imagine Cup, Microsoft aims to encourage our youth to take a stand on issues and work on ways to solve problems to make the future better for themselves and the country. Our competing teams have always done us proud with many wins at the global competitions. The amount of work and time they put into these projects really shows in the passion and commitment the teams put across in their presentations. Our track record at previous global competitions has also reflected our teams’ hard work with many recognitions and achievements to our name. I believe that this year’s teams will raise the bar even higher”.

At the recently concluded first round of the local competition, 8 teams moved forward to the final round which is to be held on the 29th of April 2010. The 8 finalist teams comprise of three teams from University of Colombo (Teams Collectivists, Saturnin and GreenBros) , two teams from Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology – SLIIT (Teams JIIB and HELY), two teams from the University of Moratuwa (Teams 4-Alliance and Saggezza) and one team from the University of Peradeniya (Team MakeIT).

Mr. Nuwan Kodagoda, Head, Department of Information Technology, Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology, speaking on the impact of the competition said The Imagine Cup has now become one of the key events, showcasing the talents of IT undergraduates in Sri Lanka. It has helped inspire IT Undergraduates to use the latest technologies to solve real world problems and has opened many opportunities for those who have actively participated in the competition in the past. In 2009 winners of the Sri Lankan edition of the Imagine Cup “Team Mahee” from SLIIT were able to proceed to the second round in the World Finals held in Egypt.

The overall theme of the Imagine Cup events is for students to employ different technologies to solve problems or better standards. The creativity and innovation aspect of the competition comes from the students themselves, who will work in teams to present and justify these projects to a panel of judges who will evaluate them based on the creativity and technical merit of their project as well as the viability and innovativeness of their idea.

This year’s local winners will move on to compete in the global competition in Poland where they will come up against some of the brightest young minds in the world, giving them a platform to learn from other countries while also exhibiting local talent and innovative skills to the world. Microsoft Sri Lanka firmly believes that given the success of local teams in the global competition in previous years, this year’s teams will do their universities and country proud and wish all the competing teams the best of luck.