UAE team wins Microsoft Imagine Cup regional finals for a second time
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American University of Sharjah students will represent Gulf at the worldwide finals in Paris.
Microsoft Gulf today announced the regional winners of the Imagine Cup 2008 after an intense competition amongst finalists from UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman. The two-member team from American University of Sharjah (AUS), Ammar Sawas and Ahmed Wasfy, celebrated their first-place finish in the regional finals and were awarded a $25,000 cash prize and a ticket to participate at the global finals being held in Paris, France later this year.
Microsoft's annual student event has received widespread popularity with over 1,330 student registrations coming in from the Gulf from over thirty universities wanting to compete in this year's event.
Of the thirty-two proposals that were accepted, a total of just 6 projects were shortlisted to participate in the finals that were held yesterday at the Jebel Ali Resort. The Imagine Cup, Microsoft's premier competition for technology students, provides a forum to encourage creative and technological innovations among university students worldwide.
This year students took on the important challenge of "imagining a world where technology enables a sustainable environment." The AUS team developed a project titled ‘PolluMap' which is an automatic pollution mapping system to track city pollution levels.
It collects pollution data entries automatically across a geographical zone to provide a database on pollution levels in a short time frame. It also gives the user the ability to view the pollution levels as well as the predicted values that are derived from the current patterns of pollution trends. The results can also be viewed on a virtual city map, using Microsoft Virtual Earth, with different areas shaded in different colors depending on the levels of pollution.
"I am very proud of our students" said the team's mentor and an AUS professor, Dr. Fadi Aloul. "They have demonstrated that their talent and passion for technology can produce solutions that can make a difference to the world."
"These projects demonstrate the power of software to address real-world problems and I'm so impressed by the high levels of technical innovation that these students achieved in their work," said Vimal Sethi, Director, Developer & Platform Evangelism Group, Microsoft Gulf who was also a member of the panel of judges.
"This year's Imagine Cup participants all share a commitment to improving the environment and in turn people's lives which is very inspiring. They represent the next generation of business and technology leaders and their creativity and passion are reasons for us all to be optimistic about the future."
The UAE team will now advance to the Imagine Cup worldwide finals being held in Paris from July 3rd - 8th where they will pit their imagination against the world's best young programmers, technologists and designers. At the global finals, students have a chance to win over $180,000 (U.S.) across nine categories.
Six teams participated in the Gulf finals - three from UAE; one from Bahrain; one from Oman and one from Kuwait. Each team had twenty minutes to present their work to a panel of judges comprising of senior members from the enterprise and government sectors. This year's event was supported by the Information Technology Authority (ITA), Oman, eGovernment Bahrain, Kuwait University and Dubai Municipality.
Commenting on the Imagine Cup, Mr. Abdullah Al Abri, Marketing and Awareness Specialist, Information Technology Authority, Oman said, "The competition gives students a focus, separate from their academic work, to test and develop a wide range of skills, from programming aptitude, to entrepreneurship and teamwork. ITA Oman is pleased to be associated with Microsoft to help students harness the power of technology to develop innovative projects that contribute directly to the future health of the environment."
Dr. Zakareya Ahmed, Director of Policies and BPR, Bahrain e-Government said, "The Imagine Cup creates a huge amount of energy and enthusiasm - not to mention remarkable ideas from students who are working towards a career in computer science, information technology and the digital arts. The Bahrain government is proud to be associated with this year's Imagine Cup to help foster innovation."
As the world's premier student technology competition, the Imagine Cup is Microsoft's initiative to encourage young people to apply their imagination and creativity to technology innovations that can make a difference and address real-world issues.
Imagine Cup compliments Microsoft's Unlimited Potential commitment to create social and economic opportunity through programs and products that transform education, foster local innovation and enable jobs and opportunities worldwide.
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About Microsoft Gulf
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ:'MSFT') is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential. Microsoft Gulf opened its Dubai-based headquarters in 1991. Microsoft Gulf today oversees Microsoft activities in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, the UAE and Yemen.
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