To be young is to dream a world that could be. To be old is to dream a world that should have been. Imagine Cup stands on the side of youth.

From all over the planet, they are preparing. From the ranks of thousands of students we have chosen three hundred and five. These few comprise eighty-six teams from sixty-nine countries. They have spent many months imagining that world and their place in it. They have created entirely new software projects, new technologies, from the scraps and tatters of the world we know. They now stand ready to dream it anew.

They have no idea what they're in for.

If these last few months were challenging, as these brilliant students balanced their projects with their classwork, well, it's about to get even more interesting. Today we unveil our eighty-six teams and their projects. They're about to find out who their competition is. And to be their best, to make their projects the best they can be, these final few weeks before the Imagine Cup 2013 Worldwide Finals in St. Petersburg, Russia, are going to be the most intense of their lives.

I've spent a lot of time reviewing these teams and their projects. There's some amazing work in here. Upon seeing their creativity unleashed, I have to think of the White Queen from Lewis Carroll's book Through the Looking Glass, the sequel to Alice in Wonderland:

Alice laughed. "There's no use trying," she said: "one can't believe impossible things."

"I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."

These students have believed six impossible things and more. They've believed they can take charge of their lives in ways their friends and families may never have imagined. They've believed they can deploy the tools and technologies provided by Microsoft to construct brilliant new software. And most of all, they believe they can win.

With today's announcement we have a lot to share: the teams, the judges, and much more. I invite you to explore, to learn, to be surprised, to be delighted. And most of all I invite you to get ready. Because starting July 8 our Worldwide Finals will begin. We'll have daily updates here on the website leading right up to our awards ceremony on July 11, hosted by Matt Smith. It's going to be spectacular.

The world is waiting.

John Scott Tynes
Imagine Cup Competition Manager
Microsoft Academic Programs