Now in its seventh year, the Imagine Cup is a global student technology competition focused on finding solutions to real-world issues. The competition encourages the world's most talented software designers, programmers, game developers, photographers and filmmakers to tackle the toughest problems facing the world today.

Over 200,000 technology students around the world competed in the 2008 competition.

Do you want:

  • To contribute your talents to tackling some of the toughest problems facing us today-and maybe even turn your ideas into a business one day?
  • To learn new technology skills and test yourself against the brightest students on the planet?
  • To make friends around the world?
  • The chance to win important cash prizes, internships at Microsoft, and even a free trip to Cairo, Egypt next summer?
Since 2002, the Imagine Cup has been challenging the world's brightest technology students to step up and make a difference.

The next year's theme is "Imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems facing us today" and the World Finals will take place in Cairo, Egypt.

The competition that I'm interested in is Software Design so I will tell you a few things that changed since the last edition.

The last year you had 3 required elements and you should integrate two in your application. Now there are 4 required elements and you need to use all of them; they are:

  • Use of a Mobile device;
  • Implementation or consumption of a XML Web Service;
  • .NET Framework 2.0 or later;
  • Visual Studio family (Express, Standard, Professional, or Team System) for development
Also the number of optional elements was reduced to one (from two) and two interesting optional elements were introduced:

  • Your entry must address a social cause connected to the Imagine Cup 2009 Theme: "Imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems facing us today"
  • Any presentations or documentation that is part of your entry must be in the English language. We will provide translators if needed for translation.
It's funny because they give the theme but it is at your latitude to create a project related to it :) The possibility of being helped by a translator is a great thing because some teams were disadvantaged in the last year by their poor English knowledge.

The prize for the first place was doubled and now the winners will go home with $30,000 USD.

So, if you are interested in participating or you just want more info, visit the Official Website.