The Imagine Cup is an annual competition sponsored and hosted by Microsoft, which brings together young technologists worldwide to help solve some of the world's toughest challenges.
The Imagine Cup comprises of five major technology competitions, including Software Design, and four challenges. All Imagine Cup competitors create projects that address the Imagine Cup theme: “Imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems”
Started in 2003, it has steadily grown in size, where in 2010 more than 325,000 competitors representing 100 countries and regions registered for the Imagine Cup with 400 finalists coming to the Worldwide finals in Warsaw, Poland. In 2011 the worldwide finals will be in New York, USA. Only the Software Design and Embedded Development competitions are judged with the UK, with finals taking place in countries around the world to decide who goes on to the worldwide final.
The Software Design competition challenges students to use technology to solve what they consider to be the toughest problems facing the world today. Using Microsoft tools and technology, competitors create software applications. Students develop, test, and build their ideas into applications that can change the world.
The Embedded Development competition allows students to go beyond the desktop to build a complete hardware and software solution that addresses global societal problems.
For both Software Design and Embedded Development, the main prize is an all-expenses-paid trip to the Imagine Cup Worldwide Final, to be held in New York City from July 3rd to July 18th 2011.
If that wasn’t enough, first place winners each received a HP Mini Netbook, a Windows Phone 7 device, a certificate and an Xbox 360 game.