Deadline : 1 January 2008

The World’s Premier Student Technology Competition

The Imagine Cup is one way Microsoft is encouraging young people to apply their imagination, their passion and their creativity to technology innovations that can make a difference in the world – today. Now in its sixth year, the Imagine Cup has grown to be a truly global competition focused on finding solutions to real world issues.

The 2008 Theme: The Environment

Every day our planet is changing and there are signs of need that we must address. Polar bears are drowning. Glaciers are melting. Forests are being cut down.  At the same time, there are good signs: people and businesses are recycling more, and learning how to reduce their carbon footprints. Scientists are researching renewable energy such as wind and solar power, and cities are taking steps to improve air and water quality. Artists are informing and inspiring us about what’s at stake if we fail to act. The world needs solutions, and the good news is that everyone can help.

This year, Microsoft is calling on young programmers, artists and technologists around the world to “imagine a world where technology enables a sustainable environment.” We’re challenging students to bring their ideas to life in a multifaceted competition that comprises nine categories, each catering to a different technological or artistic affinity. Students’ work will reflect valuable, real world solutions, while giving them the opportunity to compete for cash prizes. When coupled with the power of technology the potential of young people is unlimited and the ideas they develop for the Imagine Cup could significantly improve the lives of millions of people around the world. In this competition, everyone wins. Each of us has a unique skill to contribute. Together we can make a difference and have fun during the journey. Welcome to Imagine Cup 2008.
The 2008 World Finals will be held in Paris France from July 3-8, 2008.

Competition Categories

Below is an overview of the 2008 Competition invitationals.

Software Design

Software Design

In the software design competition, students create real world, dynamic and powerful software solutions using Microsoft tools and technology. Competitors are asked to demonstrate innovation on the Microsoft .NET Framework and Microsoft Windows platform as they conceive, test, and build applications that can change the world for the better. This competition is the only one that is run locally, not online. Countries and regions who participate select their own team to advance to the worldwide finals in Paris in July 2008.

Software Design

Embedded Development

Devices are becoming smaller, more portable and are having a greater impact on our everyday lives. Formerly the Windows Embedded Student ChallengE, this competition challenges students to go beyond the desktop, challenge your creativity, and to build a complete hardware and software solution using Windows CE and the hardware provided. A team of three-four competitors, and a faculty mentor will build a working prototype of a device that will have an impact on solving some of our world’s toughest problems.

Game Development

Game Development

As video games are becoming a major part of mainstream entertainment the opportunity to do something socially responsible with the medium has arrived.  This year’s “Xbox 360 Games for Change Challenge” will represent the first time a game development category has been available during the Imagine Cup.  This year’s challenge will be the ultimate test of a student’s creative and technical skills as they create a game that is not only entertaining but has a social message about creating a sustainable environment.  Utilizing Microsoft’s ground breaking new XNA Game Studio Express, competing students from around the world will have the chance to gain international exposure for their games.  Not only will cash prizes be awarded, these winners will then have an opportunity to come to Microsoft and present their entry to the Microsoft games management team for possible inclusion as a download in the popular Xbox LIVE Arcade service or MSN Games Web site. The first place team, or individual, will also win the opportunity to become an apprentice at Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business as part of its internship program. We’re announcing the winner next spring 2008 at the worldwide finals in Paris, France. Game Development is a game contest briefed by Games for Change and XNA Technology team.

Software Design

Project Hoshimi

Comic-style graphics bring to life the world of Professor Hoshimi and his faithful crew of scientists and programmers as they engage in a fantasy battle of life and death. Programmers are faced with very real challenges, and compete directly online with people across the world to see who can create the fastest program to save the day. The game requires coding skills and algorithmic ability to devise and implement strategy for a multi-player head-to-head game. The results play out in a real-time 3-D environment for all to see.

Software Design

IT Challenge

Students are challenged to develop, deploy, and maintain IT systems that are efficient, functional, robust and secure. Additionally, students must demonstrate proficiency in the science of networks, databases, and servers, and the areas of analysis and decision making in IT environments.

Software Design


Through a series of brain teasers, coding challenges, and algorithmic puzzles, students discover and implement the right algorithms, attempting feats like decoding the human genome and routing millions of packets across networks.

Software Design


By using a photo essay format, students are challenged to communicate a story about creating a sustainable environment using only photos as the communication medium.

Software Design

Short Film

This invitational highlights the art and science of telling a story. Students are challenged to share a perspective on the Imagine Cup theme and to express themselves in the digital media. From concept and storyboard to footage and editing, the participants must be able to create a film that moves the audience while conveying its strong purpose and meaning.

Software Design

Interface Design

Creativity and usability are the necessary ingredients to create a well-designed user interface, one that contributes to a successful piece of software or Web application. This invitational challenges designers all over the world to create functional, compelling, forward-thinking user interfaces. Competitors have a unique opportunity to envision an application, connect it to the theme of the Imagine Cup, and show the world how their skills bring it to life.

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