S. Somasegar is the corporate vice president of the Developer Division at Microsoft. Learn more about Somasegar.
Right now, we are 446 hours away from the Imagine Cup announcement of the 2004 winners. This is the second annual Imagine Cup contest currently under way. For those of you who haven’t heard about this, Imagine Cup is a technology contest that provides an outlet for students to explore their technological and artistic interests outside the classroom. This is a great opportunity for young programmers, artists and technologists around the world to bring their ideas to life in this year’s multifaceted competition. If you look at the amount of work that students have put into this competition, it is phenomenal.
We have teams coming from all different parts of the world and as far as Morocco, South Africa, Australia, and Russia. There are so many teams coming from Europe (20) that most of them are meeting up in Madrid on July 1st and taking one big flight together to Sao Paulo.
The actual student competition occurs in Foz do Iguacu, and then all the teams fly back to Sao Paulo for the PDC, Imagine Cup keynote, and awards ceremony. Foz do Iguacu is famous for its waterfalls, which sit at the border of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay. The falls are not just one waterfall – they are a series of falls, and depending on the waterflow the number can vary but it is usually in the ~250 range. They span over 3 kilometers in width, are wider than Victoria falls, and higher than Niagara falls.
The 5 finalists in the algorithm category, who have advanced from an original pool of 3,400 students worldwide, will compete in a 30 hours series of challenges in Foz do Iguacu to determine their final placing in the algorithm invitational. They know nothing about the problems they will face, just that they will have 30 hours to code through them. How they chose to use this time (sleep some, or code the whole way) is up to them.
I am excited and envious of these students – because I know that when I was their age, I wasn’t doing anything remotely this interesting or exciting J. You can check out some of the cool, great work that students participating in this have created at www.imaginecup.com.