We have just returned back from the Imagine Cup which was held in Paris, France during the 3 - 9 July 2008 and our team was representing Malta. Our team was made up of Mark Cassar, Karl Cassar, Reuben Hayman and Mario Gauci. All students are reading a B. Sc. IT (Hons) degree at the University of Malta.
Microsoft Imagine Cup 2008 was an amazing experience. Teams from all over the world met in Paris to compete in the annual prestigious technology competition. Every team had a booth to set up which was used to showcase their project. The competition featured several competitions, focusing mostly on the Software Design category, the one which our team has participated in. Other categories in the competition were Embedded Development, Game Design, Photography, Short Film, Interface Design and Accessibility. Over 200,000 students from all over the world participated in the Imagine Cup but then every country shortlisted one team to participate in the world finals. Approximately 400 students were present in the Imagine Cup finals. The first two days of the competition were project presentations with the judges. Every team participating in the Software Design category presented their project in front of a jury to judge according to several criteria. On Saturday evening, the competitions concluded and the first set of teams who passed on to the second round was announced. Unfortunately, Malta didn't make it to the second round. The teams with the best business model seems to have passed on to the second round. Sunday was a cultural day were all the teams had the time to admire the great culture and history found in France. We went to the top of the Tour Eiffel, Notre Dame, Arc De Triomphe, Sacré Cœur, Centre Pompidou, Saint-Michel and the Louvre. The teams passing on to the second round had to make other presentations and the teams were then shortlisted to 6 finalist teams. For the finals, the entire participant's booths were moved to the Louvre were project showcases to the press had to be made. Finalist presentations and winners announcements were also made at the Louvre.
The winning team of the Software Design competition was Team SOAK from Australia. Team Housekeepers from Slovakia placed second and Team DigitalMania from Hungary placed third. There were a lot of amazing projects being showcased at the Imagine Cup, all around the theme of using technology to enable a sustainable environment. The competition was very fierce but although we did not manage to get through to the second round, it was an amazing experience. We still believe that we have a very good project which is very relevant to the environment theme. Our project aims to reduce the amount of cars from the streets through car pooling. It would be very interesting to deploy our project in Malta were traffic is a very big problem. The traffic problem can also be experienced throughout the entire world and one of the major factors contributing towards air pollution is motor vehicles. Reducing motor vehicles from the streets helps in reducing air pollution, noise pollution and visual pollution. Everybody managed to meet with different teams and judges from all over the world. Microsoft Imagine Cup will remain an unforgettable experience for all our team.