Imagine Cup 2018 Highlights Microsoft's Latest Technologies
Written by Lucy Black   
Tuesday, 28 November 2017

The new slogan for the Imagine Cup is "Code With Purpose" and it is now underway. For 2018 there are new awards for Big Data, AI and Virtual/Augmented reality apps. Teams are encouraged to make an early start on their projects by pitching their ideas the Big Idea Challenge before January 31st.


The Imagine Cup is Microsoft's annual global contest for teams of students. The 2018 competition, the sixteenth in the series which started in 2003, had an official start date of 24 October 2017 and consists of two rounds. Round 1 culminates in National Finals held on of before 30 April, 2108 or Online finals held on May 31st, 2018  for those students in countries or regions that don't hold in person events.

One or more winning teams from each of the National Finals together with some from the Online Finals then attend the World Finals in July 2018. Last year the number of teams at the wold finals was 54, representing 39 countries.




Until recently the categories teams could compete in were Games, Innovation and World Citizenship - however there's no longer any such distinction with the emphasis shifting to the underlying technology. As stated last year by Pablo Veramendi Imagine Cup Competition Manager:

Imagine Cup will be on the lookout for deep technology integration in fully formed apps, services and games with the potential to be viable in the commercial marketplace.

The requirement that every project should be developed to require Microsoft Azure introduced last year is carried forward reflecting Microsoft's emphasis on being a major provide of cloud services.

What is new for 2018 is three new awards for the use of specific Microsoft Technologies which again reflect the latest trends in Microsoft's sphere of interest and influence. 

Big Data Award
Required use of Azure Data + Analytics or IoT

Artificial Intelligence Award
Required use of Azure Artificial Intelligence + Cognitive Services

Mixed Reality Award
Required use of HoloLens, Virtual Reality or Augmented Reality

Each of these awards, and the Second Place Prize for the World finals consists of $15,000 USD, to be divided equally among each officially registered member of the team and a Microsoft Azure Grant.

The top prizes for 2018 is $85,000 USD again to be divided equally among each officially registered member of the Team and together with a Microsoft Azure Grant plus a remote mentoring session with Satya Nadella.

The 2018 contest is again kicking off with the The Big Idea Challenge - in which teams are asked to create a 3-minute video and a  project plan document to explain their ideas for their projects and get both funding and early feedback from judges. 

The deadline for this is January 31st 2018 and these prizes are at stake:

  • $3,000 USD - 1st Place prize
  • $2,000 USD - 2nd Place prize
  • $1,000 USD - 3rd Place prize
  • Judge feedback on project submission – Top 10 teams
  • $600 in Azure credits – Top 50 teams

This first step could make all the difference on the road towards next July's Imagine Cup World Finals.




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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 28 November 2017 )