The Imagine Cup, an annual Microsoft-sponsored global competition for students to build software to combat global problems, begins its final round in Poland on Saturday, July 3, 2010. The Seattle Times reports that the Imagine Cup competition has drawn 325,000 students from 100 countries this year.

The competition began in April with national finals that took place online and in 68 events in different countries. The finalists from those competitions — about 400 high- school, college and graduate students representing 78 countries — are competing in Warsaw. As in the Olympics, student teams compete for titles in several categories, such as game design and digital media.

Microsoft, which declined to say how much it spends on Imagine Cup, awards $240,000 in cash prizes and pays for student travel to the national and international final events. Cash prizes range from $2,000 to $25,000.

You can find more info about the competition at the Imagine Cub web site. Any student attending an accredited high school or college either full or part-time can participate.