An overwhelming response from Sri Lankan students to Microsoft`s Imagine Cup competition has helped propel Sri Lanka to the 13th position globally in terms of registrations in the software design category.
A record 258 registrations were sent for the Software Design invitational as at the closing date of 15th March, placing Sri Lanka thirteenth highest in terms of registrations for this category, in the world, with countries like Brazil, India and China leading the way. Once students register themselves, they form teams, through which they submit their projects. 42 such submissions were entered this year ? more than double the number of entries last year. Submissions were made by state universities such as Colombo, Moratuwa, Wayamba, Ruhuna, and Kelaniya, as well as private colleges such as Singapore informatics. This year`s competition also saw collaborative work between these universities.
This year`s Imagine Cup was held along the theme: ?Imagine a world where technology enables us to live healthier lives?. Students were allowed to define `health` for themselves and were invited to create ways in which technology can be utilized to make a real difference to health, as they see it.
For the 2006 competition, entries were adjudged in the first round by a panel consisting of Microsoft MVPs (Most Valuable Professionals) and a Microsoft Solution Specialist. The first round of judging saw the selection of five finalists - four teams from the University of Colombo School of Computing and a team from the IT Faculty of the University of Moratuwa, make up the final five. The national winner will be announced on 31st May 2006, at an awards ceremony scheduled to be held in Colombo.
The five short-listed projects are very different from each other but all address the theme of ?Imagine a world where technology enables us to live healthier lives?. Among the five finalists is the ?Air Pollution Application? that helps detect levels of pollution and alerts relevant authorities on harmful levels, and ?Perfect Sleep - Energetic Wake-up? ? an application focused on providing better quality sleep by creating a conducive environment. ?Panchayuda? another finalist is an application designed to organize the clinic-related activities of mothers with infants. ?My Plant? is an application that enables a user to adopt a plant, care for it and watch it grow, online. Rounding off the five finalists is Project ?Smart Buddy?- a virtual intelligent character that helps relieve stress and eye strain of computer users.In this year`s competition, University of Colombo`s School of Computing showed outstanding performance by securing four of the top five positions available in the finals.
The national level winner or team walks away with an all expense paid trip to Delhi, India, where the Imagine Cup global championship will be worked off later this year. The worldwide winner in the Software Design Invitational stands the chance of winning a grand cash prize of USD 25,000 at the Global Championship.
Last year, a team of four from the University of Moratuwa were crowned the Sri Lankan champions of Imagine Cup 2005 and went on to represent Sri Lanka at the Worldwide Finals in Yokohama Japan.
Imagine Cup is the world`s premier technology competition for students with a passion for creativity and technology. Held for the fourth consecutive year, the Imagine Cup enables students the world over to compete with their peers on a global platform and present creative ideas, which can potentially make a difference to the planet. The past three years have seen more than 20,000 students, representing over 90 countries, vying for honors in this prestigious competition.
In Sri Lanka, Imagine Cup is part of the many initiatives taken by Microsoft to boost local IT talent to international standards. Competitions, such as these, enable students to interact and collaborate with peers and experts around the world ? sharing their knowledge and learning new lessons.