Microsoft Global Student Technology Competition

In July, more than 400 students from around the world will travel to New York to showcase their ideas for using technology to solve the world’s toughest problems.

As the winners of regional, national and online Imagine Cup competitions, these high school and university students represent the pinnacle of innovation, creativity and entrepreneurialism from 73 countries and regions around the globe, says Microsoft.

This year, more than 350,000 students from 183 countries registered for Microsoft Corp.’s Imagine Cup, a student technology competition. The 124 student teams secured their places at the July 8–13 Worldwide Finals event, where they will demonstrate technological advancements in problem-solving and compete for international recognition and $215,000 (U.S.) in cash prizes in categories including Software Design, Embedded Development, Game Design, Digital Media, Windows Phone 7, IT Challenge, Interoperability Challenge, Windows 7 Touch Challenge and the Orchard Challenge.

The students’ projects tackle serious humanitarian issues, often inspired by the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, such as the environment, health, accessibility and education.

“Some of history’s greatest inventions were created by students. With the Microsoft Imagine Cup, students apply their innovative thinking to real-world causes in order to generate the future’s greatest inventions as well,” said S. Somasegar, senior vice president, Developer Division at Microsoft.

Last year, Team GINA from the Czech Republic was among the finalist teams that competed at the Imagine Cup 2010 Worldwide Finals in Warsaw, Poland. The team developed GINA (Geographical INformation Assistant), an innovative software system for mobile equipment that provides navigation in difficult terrain, helps coordinate rescue teams, and enables the efficient exchange of geographical information.

Together with the humanitarian organization Hand for Help Europe o.s. and its partners, the GINA system has been deployed in Haiti to track the progress of the cholera epidemic, and recently has been helping rescue workers in Japan monitor areas affected by the recent earthquake and tsunami that devastated the country.

2011 marks the first time that the Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals event, now in its ninth year, will take place in the United States. Although the primary focus of the gathering is the competition, the finalist teams will also have opportunities to attend special training sessions, meet peers from around the world, and participate in volunteer and cultural activities while in New York.

The final event of the competition, the Imagine Cup World Festival and Awards Ceremony, will take place on Wednesday, July 13.

Photo courtesy: Microsoft

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