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Indiana U, Wayne State Teams Capture Wins in Imagine Cup 2008

Winners of the 2008 Imagine Cup technology competition were announced Tuesday in Paris. Student teams from American universities took top honors in two categories and earned achievement awards in other areas. Microsoft, which hosted the event, said it was the most successful run for American teams in the Cup's six-year history.

More than 16,000 students from 125 campuses in the United States registered for this year's event, in which they competed in categories ranging from software development to interface design. Winners from the American competition in April headed to Paris for the finals, where they competed with student teams from 100 countries. Some 200,000 students total registered to participate around the world.

The theme for this year's competition was using technology to help sustain the environment. There were nine main categories in the competition.

In the category of interface design, Team IU EcoVis from Indiana University took first place. The team consisted of David Roedl and William Odom, whose project, "Campus Energy Challenge," focused on reducing energy and water consumption in campus dorms. Roedl and Odom both received their undergraduate degrees in informatics from IU and are working on their master of science degrees in human-computer interaction/design.

In the photography category, Team Provisio from Wayne State University took top honors. The team was made up of Jennifer Hui and Melissa Hui, both of whom had previously placed in the top 20 in the short film category in 2007. For this year's win, the pre-med sisters submitted a photo essay focusing on global warming and deforestation.

"The creativity demonstrated by the competitors this year has shown that tomorrow's technology leaders are ready to apply their solutions to real-world issues," said Joe Black, director of business development for emerging technologies at British Telecommunications, a co-sponsor of the event. BT will be providing business and technology training to six finalists as part of the Imagine Cup Innovation Accelerator program. "The Imagine Cup Innovation Accelerator is an exceptional opportunity for young developers to explore the entrepreneurial possibilities of their software solutions. We are excited to offer our encouragement, guidance, and support to these talented students through comprehensive training sessions to help students bring their ideas to fruition."

Other categories in the competition included:

  • Software design, in which students create real-world applications built on the .NET framework and on the Microsoft Windows platform. Winner: Team SOAK, Australia; David Burela, Dimaz Pramudya, Ed Hooper, and Long Zheng of Swinburne University of Technology, University of Tasmania, University of Melbourne, and Monash University.
  • Embedded development, for building hardware and software solutions using Windows CE, along with supplied hardware. Winner: Team Trail Blazers, Singapore; Pinto James Dominic, Shi Ben Yong, Hu Shuhan, and Denver Lim of Nanyang Polytechnic.
  • Game development, focusing on Xbox 360 using XNA Game Studio Express. Winner: Team Mother Gaia Studio, Brazil; Guilherme Campos, and Helena Van Kampen, Rafael F. Costa, and Túlio Sória of Universidade Estadual Paulista.
  • Algorithm, a challenge in which participants solve algorithmic puzzles and brain teasers. Winner: Roman Koshlyak, Ukraine.
  • Project Hoshimi, in which participants use "coding skills and algorithmic ability to devise and implement strategy for a multi-player head-to-head game." Winner: Team RedDevils, Russia; Ilya Grebnov and Sergei Grebnov of Ivanovo State Power University.
  • IT Challenge, in which students "develop, deploy, and maintain IT systems" and demonstrate networking, database, and other IT-related skills. Winner: Jean-Benoit Paux, France.
  • Short film. Winner: Team NEIP, Korea; Jin Joung, Seong Ran An , Yeun Jun Choo, and Sung Wook Lee of Ajou University.

Aside from the nine main categories, there were also special awards and achievement awards in other areas. The Accessible Technology Achievement Award went to Jeffrey Bigham, a University of Washington Ph.D. candidate, for Project WebAnywhere.

The Engineering Excellence Achievement Award was shared by three teams, one of which was from the United States. The winners included:

  • Team Sparx, United States, Adam Risi, Zachery Shivers, and Ziyan Zhou of the Rochester Institute of Technology;
  • Team Ignition, Russia, Anatoly Nikitin, Roman Belov, and Daria Elkina of Saint Petersburg State University and Saint Petersburg Electrotechnical University; and
  • Team Atlas, Bulgaria, Boryana Miloshevska, Dobromira Ivanova, Martin Damyanov, and Yordan Pavlov of Technical University-Sofia.

Registration for Imagine Cup 2009, to be held in Egypt, is now open. The theme for next year's event is "Imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems facing us today." Further information can be found here.

About the Author

David Nagel is editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Technology Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal and STEAM Universe. A 29-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at or follow him on Twitter at @THEDavidNagel (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education).

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