Microsoft has officially launched the Imagine Cup 2014 season and student teams can now register and start to work. The website has also been revamped with a new logo, but the three main competitions are staying the same.
The Imagine Cup, which is now going into its 12th year, took its name from the challenge it set students: "Imagine a world in which technology could be used to solve big social problems" - and over the years hundreds of thousand of student have taken up the challenge and devised amazing solutions using Microsoft technologies.
The latest version of the website no longer uses this original formulation, but its World Citizenship Competition preserves the ethos and still looks for "the best new software to address social issues".
The Innovation Competition is looking for "the next big thing" which is capable of "changing lives and giving people the thrill of seeing the future come to life right in front of them".
The Games Competition asks students to "join the global game revolution" and create "the next great game" and like the other two main contests lasts from now until July 31, 2013
The fourth competition that is currently open to teams has a deadline of October 25. This is the Pitch Video Challenge which asks teams to:
Record a video no longer than five minutes in which you and your team pitch your project. No slides, no charts, no pictures. Just you in front of a camera, telling your story, in any of our three competition categories: Games, Innovation, or World Citizenship.
At the end of the finals of this year's Imagine Cup, held in St. Petersburg, it was announced that next year's the event will be "going home" to Microsoft's Redmond headquarters in Seattle, USA. This will be the first time that the Worldwide Finals have been on Microsoft's home turf and the first time in many years that it has been in the United States. No doubt Microsoft will be hoping for more "local" entrants to its flagship competition.
To encourage students to get involved Microsoft has put together a slide dossier detailing what some it its alumni have achieved after their involvement in the Imagine Cup. It makes impressive reading:
The Imagine Cup is a great opportunity for students to showcase their programming creativity and ability. It's free to enter and involvement brings the benefits of the DreamSpark program - giving free access to Microsoft software and developer tools for learning, teaching and research purposes.