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Team ‘PeraSoft’ from University of Peradeniya crowned as the Winners Of Microsoft Imagine Cup 2011

Poised to make Sri Lanka proud at the Grand Finale In New York This Summer

Team ‘PeraSoft’ from University of Peradeniya crowned as the Winners Of Microsoft Imagine Cup 2011

The Winners, Team PeraSoft comprising of N.D.M. Samarakoon, S.A.L.D. Senadheera, H.M.P.L. Herath and J.M.M.U. Dasanayake receiving their trophy from Ms. Tracey Fellows – President, Asia Pacific Region, Microsoft.

Amidst tumultuous fanfare and applaud Team ‘PeraSoft’ from the University of Peradeniya emerged as the winner in the Software Design category of Imagine Cup 2011 Sri Lanka Finals. The winners, Team PeraSoft comprising of N.D.M. Samarakoon, S.A.L.D. Senadheera, H.M.P.L. Herath and J.M.M.U. Dasanayake will go down in history as this is the first time Peradeniya have won in the competition, making it a truly celebratory moment for the University. They will represent Sri Lanka at the Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals to be held in New York in June 2011, where they will face off with competitors from around the world. The winner will be propelled onto the global Microsoft Imagine Cup competition stage and along with it open up new windows of opportunities that could benefit their future career progression.

Team ‘CR –Coderzs’ Representing the Informatics Institute of Technology and Team ‘Sentinels 2.0’ from University of Moratuwa became the 1st and 2nd Runners up respectively. The excitement of the preliminary rounds of the Microsoft Imagine Cup reached fever pitch as the proud semi-finalists geared up and made a bid for the top spot at the Finals on 27th April 2011 at the University of Moratuwa – Civil Engineering Faculty Auditorium.

This year, the competition attracted a record number of entries from around the country with a breakthrough of 52 finalist teams, the highest ever in the history of Imagine Cup in Sri Lanka. This reflects the increasing levels of sophistication of students’ entries and the growing popularity of the competition. Also for the first time this year, the event was hosted by a University, with the initial honour going out to the University of Moratuwa, whose students did a wonderful job of organizing it.

Imagine Cup Sri Lanka 2011 was made even more significant with the attendance of Ms. Tracey Fellows – President, Asia Pacific Region, Microsoft,and the award was given away to the winning team by Ms. Fellows who expressed her congratulations and acknowledged the talent and the enthusiasm demonstrated by the students. The presence of Ms. Fellows, who is the highest ranking Microsoft official to have visited Sri Lanka, was a clear demonstration of the value Microsoft places on Student Communities and youth.

Emerging as the proud winners of Imagine Cup 2011, Lahiru Senadheera from Team ‘PeraSoft’ commented, “Participating in the Imagine Cup has been a learning curve unlike none other I have ever experienced. The strong competition from fellow participants and the wide scope of the competition has helped me think out of the box and I am thrilled that my team’s innovation was selected out of the many equally deserving entries. This year’s theme forced us to move out of our comfort zone to consider solving problems besetting the world today! I am looking forward to the global stage of the competition in New York and sincerely hope that we can bring the Imagination Cup home to Sri Lanka this year!”

The 1st runner up at the Imagine Cup Finals, Sabry Moulana of team ‘CR – Coderzs’ from the Informatics Institute of Technology commented, “The grand finale was even more competitive and nerve racking than we had imagined! Each and every finalist demonstrated such awe inspiring projects and ideas, that it was humbling to be on the same stage with them. The beauty of this forum was that we were all able to learn from each other’s triumphs and failures to create something bigger and better. The Imagine Cup competition has helped to develop a whole new perspective about IT and its uses. More importantly, the competition has showed me how I can harness my knowledge to make a difference in the world. Imagine Cup has proved to be much more than a competition; it has instilled in me an awareness of my potential and showed me how I can look beyond the obvious.”

This year, the IT undergraduates have delved into their skills and talents to think up ‘big ideas’ based on the Imagine Cup 2011 theme - ‘Think Big. Think Global’. This much awaited annual event encourages participants to “imagine a world where technology solves some of the toughest problems”. Judging from the quality of the entries it is obvious that the competition has given birth to some amazing talent and ingenuity as participants emerged with some innovative concepts that made judging this year’s competition a tough proposition for the jury.

Imagine Cup 2011 Sri Lanka Finals had 6 teams vying for the coveted title. They were: Team Titan - University of Colombo School of Computing comprising of M. T. N. Fernando, H. M. L. Dharmasiri, C. L. Bulathsinhala & Y. M. K. Priyadarshana. Team CR-Coderz from Informatics Institute of Technology - Sabry Moulana, Renien Joseph, Raathigeshan Kugarajan & Thirueswaren Rajagopalan. Team PeraSoft - University of Peradeniya comprised of N.D.M. Samarakoon, S.A.L.D. Senadheera, H.M.P.L. Herath & J.M.M.U. Dasanayake. Team MISL of Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology comprised of C. P. Jayasinghe, H. P. S. Madusanka, N. M. E. S. Nawarathne & I. K. Amarasinghe. Team Sentinels 2.0 of University of Mortuwa comprised of Madhusha Nanayakkara, Thurupathan Vijayakumar, Vimukthi Thilakarathna & Yasoda Jayaweera. Team Vishwa University of Moratuwa comprised of J. L. P. R. Perera, P.W.P.C Pethiyagode, A. D. Panditha & G. N. Amarasinghe.

Microsoft Imagine Cup - the world’s premier student technology competition envisions igniting a new wave of technological innovation, bringing together the brightest young minds from around the world and encouraging them to use their creativity to harness technology to solve the world’s toughest problems. At a little less than a decade, Microsoft’s Imagine Cup has reached over 350,000 students from over 120 different countries around the world, coming together with a mission to change the world.

The jury evaluating the finalist at the Imagine Cup Competition were Mrs. Ruwanthi Fernando, Chief Information Officer, Associated Motorways PLC; Mr. Tharmarajah Suresh, Chief Executive Officer, ZILLIONe Technologies (Pvt) Ltd; Mr. Arjuna Manamperi, Chief Information Officer, MAS Capital Private Limited and Mr. Pubudu Basnayaka, SMS&P Director, Microsoft Sri Lanka.

Mr. Arjuna Manamperi, Chief Information Officer, MAS Capital Private Limited, representing the Judging Panel who had the daunting task of selecting a winner this year commented: “All the entries that made it to the final stage were outstanding for their maturity and creativity. I would like to applaud all the participants, while congratulating the finalists who have successfully qualified to proceed to the global finals of the Imagine Cup. As the jury, judging the wide range of innovative solutions was a difficult task but also gratifying, because it revealed the burgeoning talent and skills that our future IT graduates possess and the burning desire they nurse to be given a suitable platform such as Microsoft’s Imagine Cup to bring that talent to the fore.”

Bringing this inspiring challenge home, Microsoft Sri Lanka annually holds a local extension of Imagine Cup’s Software Design Category, which attracts the most amongst Sri Lankan youth and which gains highest participation from Undergraduates. Over the past few years, Sri Lankan IT students have fared comparably well with counterparts from around the world, and after witnessing the benefits that emanate from winning the competition, students target participation in the Imagine Cup as a key stepping stone in their career. Next year’s Imagine Cup will be hosted by Sri Lanka Institute for Information Technology.

Mr. Wellington Perera, Director – Developer Platform Evangelism, Microsoft Sri Lanka, commented: “We have been overwhelmed by the force of talent and enthusiasm displayed by all the participants at this years Microsoft Imagine Cup competition. We are hopeful that some of these big and bold ideas will win on the international stage in New York, and provide greater impetus to students to consider the challenging opportunity that participation in the Imagine Cup offers. The competition was conceptualized not merely to make students think out of the box, but also to bring home to the industry and teachers of IT the multi-layered benefits that such a vital challenge brings. This can positively contribute to the student community and perhaps even influence future career choices, simultaneously building vital soft skills such as qualities of leadership, teamwork, tenacity and so on.”

The winners of this year’s Imagine Cup competition are now gearing up to represent Sri Lanka at the Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals to be held in New York this summer. Microsoft Sri Lanka together with the entire team behind the Imagine Cup event extends their heartiest congratulations to the winners and hope their innovative solution will be able to shine out at the global competition and make Mother Sri Lanka proud.