PARIS, July 8 /PRNewswire/ --

- Students address environmental sustainability with innovative technology; torch passes to Egypt for Imagine Cup 2009.

Microsoft Corp today announced the winners of Imagine Cup 2008 at the Musée du Louvre, after a week of intense competition among finalists chosen from a pool of more than 200,000 students from over 100 countries and regions. Celebrating first place, Australia's Team SOAK won the worldwide Software Design invitational, Singapore's Team Trail Blazers won the Embedded Development invitational, and Brazil's Mother Gaia Studio won the Game Development challenge. Imagine Cup, the world's premier competition for technology students, gives students the chance to unlock their creative genius and build solutions that tackle real-world issues facing society today.

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"Imagine Cup provides a forum for students around the world to explore new ways to use the power of software to help address some of the world's toughest challenges," said S Somasegar, senior vice president of the Developer Division at Microsoft. "The high caliber of the students and their projects is evidence of the high level of innovation seen in the student community today, with a clear potential for real-world impact."

The software design, embedded development and game development finalist teams created applications, devices and games using the Microsoft platform and Microsoft tools based on the Imagine Cup competition theme "Imagine a world where technology enables a sustainable environment."

A total of 370 students from 124 teams representing 61 countries and regions competed in the worldwide Imagine Cup finals in nine categories: Software Design, Embedded Development, Game Development, "Project Hoshimi" (Programming Battle), IT Challenge, Algorithm, Photography, Short Film and Interface Design. The student teams were asked to undertake a series of challenges relating to digital media or technology depending on the invitational.

The winners were announced in a gala awards ceremony this afternoon during the Imagine Cup World Festival, a celebration drawing Imagine Cup competitors, mentors and other key attendees. It featured keynote addresses from several dignitaries from around the world. The following are the top three finalists by invitational in finishing order:

Software Design * First place: Australia -- Team SOAK Team Members: David Burela, Dimaz Pramudya, Ed Hooper, Long Zheng * Second place: Slovakia -- Team Housekeepers Team Members: Marián Hönsch, Michal Kompan, Jakub Simko, Dusan Zeleník * Third place: Hungary -- Team DigitalMania Team Members: Ákos Kapui, Laszló Zöld, Bálint Orosz, Gergely Orosz Embedded Development * First place: Singapore -- Team Trail Blazers Team Members: Pinto James Dominic, Shi Ben Yong, Hu Shuhan, Denver Lim * Second place: TIE Ireland -- Team AcidRain Team Members: Brian Byrne, Aodhan Coffey, Karl O'Dwyer China -- Team Wings Team Members: Shibiao Xu, Junjie Li, Zhongjie Wang, Lei Yan * Third place: Poland -- Team Aero@PUT Team Members: Piotr Kryger, Mikolaj Malaczynski, Jakub Pawlowski, Piotr Slezak Game Development * First place: Brazil -- Team Mother Gaia Studio Team Members: Guilherme Campos, Helena Van Kampen, Rafael F Costa, Túlio Sória * Second place: Belgium -- Team Drunk Puppy Productions Team Members: Kenny Deriemaeker, Filip Van Bouwel, Timothy Vanherberghen, Jeroen van Raevels * Third place: Korea -- Team GOMZ Team Members: Kim Dong Hoon, Kim Ki Hwan, Park Min Kyu "Project Hoshimi" (Programming Battle) * First place: Russia -- Team Red Devils Team Members: Ilya Grebnov, Sergei Grebnov * Second place: China -- Team Zephyr Team Members: Peng Guo, Jiaze Huang * Third place: Ukraine -- Team Dream Team Team Members: Pavlo Liapota, Margaryta Skrypachova IT Challenge * First place: France -- Jean-Benoit Paux * Second place: Romania -- Cosmin-Viorel Ilie * Third place: China -- Yan Liu Algorithm * First place: Ukraine -- Roman Koshlyak * Second place: Hungary -- Szilveszter Szebeni * Third place: Japan -- Naohiro Takahashi Photography * First place: United States -- Team Provisio Team Members: Jennifer Hui, Melissa Hui * Second place: Austria -- Team Austria Team Members: Rosa Maria Binder, Benedikt Wurth * Third place: Croatia - Team Voodoo Delirum Team Members: Duje Nebojsa Pandzic, Martin Stokic Short Film * First place: Korea -- Team NEIP Team Members: Il Jin Joung, Seong Ran An, Yeun Jun Choo, Sung Wook Lee * Second place: Mexico -- Team Lava Lamp Team Members: Grace Montoya, Aldo Murillo * Third place: Canada -- Robotree Team Members: Drake Birmann, Ryan Morrison, Media Ridha, Dan Tran Interface Design * First place: United States - Team IU EcoVis Team Members: David Roedl, William Odom * Second place: Canada -- TeamGreeNet Team Members: Jin Fan, Kevin Muise * Third place: France -- Team Edelweiss Team Members: Johanna Rowe, Steven Muhr

In addition to the category awards, five Achievement Awards were presented.

* The Rural Innovation Achievement Award, sponsored by Microsoft's Unlimited Potential Group, is designed to recognise the software solution that contributes towards a more sustainable environment and best helps promote the social and economic growth of underserved populations in developing countries and regions and best helps them better meet their basic needs. It was won by Indonesia's Antarmuka: Arief Widhiyasa, Dimas Yusuf Danurwenda, Ella Madanella Dwi Mustika and Erga Ghaniya.

* The Accessible Technology Achievement Award, designed to recognise the interface design solution that makes it easier for anyone to see, hear and use a computer, and to customise their computing environment according to their own preferences, needs and abilities, was won by Jeffrey Bigham, a PhD candidate in computer science from the University of Washington, United States, for Project WebAnywhere. An additional onsite challenge was won by France's Team JivAd: Jivane Rajabaly and Adrien Ossorguine.

* The Interoperability Achievement Award, designed to recognize the software solution that best leverages Microsoft technologies to connect people, data or diverse systems to help address real-world customer needs, was won by India's Team SKAN: Sameet Singh Khajuria, Karun AB, Amith George and Noel Sequeira.

* The Windows Live Achievement Award, designed to recognise the software solution that makes the best use of the Windows Live platform and adds new social dimensions to both new and old web sites and web projects, was won by Spain's Windows Drive: Carlos Junquera Cachero, David Rodriguez, Héctor Juan and Miguel Llopis.

* The Engineering Excellence Achievement Award, sponsored by Microsoft's Enterprise Engineering Center, is designed to recognise three outstanding teams from the Software Development category that have created solutions that demonstrate the potential to be developed to scale with focused guidance from a Microsoft engineer, was won by the following:

-- Bulgaria -- Team Atlas Team Members: Boryana Miloshevska, Dobromira Ivanova, Martin Damyanov, Yordan Pavlov -- USA -- Team Sparx Team Members: Adam Risi, Zachery Shivers, Ziyan Zhou -- Russia -- Team Ignition Team Members: Anatoly Nikitin, Roman Belov, Daria Elkina

Furthermore, six finalist teams will have the opportunity to explore how their software solutions could potentially turn into business realities. The teams will receive intense business and technology training as part of the Imagine Cup Innovation Accelerator programme, co-sponsored by Microsoft and British Telecommunications plc (BT).

"The creativity demonstrated by the competitors this year has shown that tomorrow's technology leaders are ready to apply their solutions to real-world issues," said Joe Black, director of Business Development for Emerging Technologies, BT. "The Imagine Cup Innovation Accelerator is an exceptional opportunity for young developers to explore the entrepreneurial possibilities of their software solutions. We are excited to offer our encouragement, guidance, and support to these talented students through comprehensive training sessions to help students bring their ideas to fruition."

The six teams chosen to participate in the Imagine Cup Innovation Accelerator programme are the following:

* Australia -- Team SOAK (Smart Operational Agricultural toolKit) Team Members: David Burela, Dimaz Pramudya, Ed Hooper, Long Zheng * France -- Team Well K'Home Team Members: Regis Hanol, Gauthier Chanliau, Sebastien Warin, Jean-Noel Gauthier * Germany -- Team PoinT-Power in Time Team Members: Daniel Franke, Jörn Schindler, Vasilios Filippidis, Axel Ernst * Hungary -- Team Digital Mania Team Members: Ákos Kapui, Laszló Zöld, Bálint Orosz, Gergely Orosz * Slovakia - Team Housekeepers Team Members: Marián Hönsch, Michal Kompan, Jakub Simko, Dusan Zeleník * South Africa - Team Smile Team Members: Devin de Vries, Christopher King, Nabeel Nazeer, Nadeem Isaacs

Imagine Cup 2009 will be held in Cairo and Alexandria, Egypt. The theme will be "Imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems facing us today." Students will be asked to create software solutions that are aligned to one of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The eight MDGs range from halving extreme poverty and halting the spread of HIV/AIDS to providing universal primary education. More information about the MDGs can be found at

Registrations for Imagine Cup 2009 open today, 8 July 2008. More information about Imagine Cup can be found at

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