S. Somasegar is the corporate vice president of the Developer Division at Microsoft. Learn more about Somasegar.
Yesterday I had the opportunity to participate in the Finals of the Imagine Cup 2010 in Warsaw, Poland.
Imagine Cup is a worldwide programming contest where students from around the globe get a chance to participate, show their creativity and passion, and use technology to solve real world problems. The problems relate to the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals which make the solutions exciting and inspiring.
We started doing Imagine Cup eight years ago. Since then, it has grown considerably. We had 325,000 students from around the world participate this year. Of that, 400 students from 69 countries reached the Finals and were in Warsaw this week for the same.
I got a chance to talk to a number of the students who were participating in the Software Design category. It is truly awesome to see the kinds of solutions that these students were working on ranging from using radio waves to send educational data to geographies with One Lap Per Child + Classmate PC initiative (Team OneBeep from New Zealand) to providing a way for hearing-impaired people to communicate with others via augmented reality environment (Team Skeek from Thailand, pictured below) to enabling patients with extreme disabilities to communicate by using speech synthesis, SMS or Windows Live Messenger (Team TFZR from Serbia) and a whole host of other equally inspiring solutions.
I always say that today's students are tomorrow's leaders. It was a humbling and uplifting experience to see the passion and determination that these students demonstrated to have a positive impact on the world.
Next year, the Imagine Cup Finals will be held in New York, and I am eagerly looking forward to seeing more amazing work by students.