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Imagine Cup 2006 Calls Student Gamers to Represent the UK

$15,000 of prizes up for grabs in 4th annual Imagine Cup for students who can “Imagine a world where technology enables us to live healthier lives”

Reading, Berkshire, 14th December 2005 - Microsoft® has announced the start of its fourth annual international student competition, the Imagine Cup (www.imaginecup.co.uk), the global final for which will take place in Delhi, India, during August 2006. The competition pits teams of students from across the UK and the rest of the world against each other in six invitationals, to win glory, a share of the $125,000 total prize fund and the chance to kick-start their careers.

The overarching theme for this year's competition is "Imagine a world where technology enables us to live healthier lives." And students entries need to reflect the real-world worth and applicability of their innovations. The competition takes the top young technologists from around the globe and gives them the opportunity and exposure to help solve some of the world's most challenging problems.

In Project Hoshimi - Programming Battle, students write the code representing the behaviour and the strategy of a team of characters going through different types of missions. The results are not only fun to create but also fun to watch as the programs play it out in a virtual 3D environment for all to see. Project Hoshimi uses a background story, comic style graphics, and very real challenges to test the skills of programmers everywhere and allow them to compete, directly online, with people all over their nation and eventually the world to see who has the fastest program to save the day.

Kevin McDaniel, Academic Manager, Microsoft Ltd, said "Project Hoshimi pits a student's skill, expertise, determination and flare against their peer's. It's a fast paced development competition that plays out on a virtual stage. If you think you've got what it takes to be a great developer, this is the place to show off and prove it!"

The other five categories in the Imagine Cup 2006 are Software Design, Short Film, Algorithm, IT and Interface Designer.

Students wanting to represent their country and compete in this year's Imagine Cup for an all expenses paid trip to the Delhi finals - and the chance to be crowned World Wide champions are urged to visit the Imagine Cup website at http://www.microsoft.com/uk/academia/imaginecup/2006/default.asp.

About The Imagine Cup

The Imagine Cup, now in its forth year, is a competition sponsored by Microsoft designed to provide an outlet for students to explore technological and artistic interests outside the classroom. More than 15,000 students from over 90 countries competed in last year's competition. The six different invitationals or categories that comprise this year's competition: Software Design, Algorithm, Information Technology (IT), Short Film, Interface Design and Project Hoshimi - Programming Battle.

Further details about the competition can be found on the UK Imagine Cup portal at www.imaginecup.co.uk/ and additional details can be found on the global Imagine Cup portal at www.thespoke.net/imagine.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realise their full potential.

®Microsoft Corporation 2005. All rights reserved. Microsoft and the Microsoft logo are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

For more information please contact

Sara Lee

Inferno PR

020 8434 5577

sara.lee@infernopr.com

For information on Microsoft Ltd, please contact:

The Microsoft Press Centre

Tel: 0870 20 77377, lines are open 9.00am to 6.00pm Monday to Friday

Fax: 0870 20 77329

Email: ukprteam@microsoft.com

www.microsoft.com/uk/press

NOTES TO EDITORS

Below are details of each of the invitationals in this years Imagine Cup event. For further details please visit www.imaginecup.co.uk

Software Design

The Software Design Invitational calls on students to create technology that facilitates a healthier lifestyle. Competitors are called on to design and develop new applications that demonstrate innovation on the Microsoft .NET Framework and Microsoft Windows® platform. Entrants are expected to demonstrate how their use of technology will make a real difference in the lives of people everywhere. Theme: Imagine a world where technology enables us to live healthier lives

Total prize: $25,000 for the software design invitational winner

Short Film

From concept and storyboard to footage and editing, this invitational invites entrants to offer a unique perspective on the Imagine Cup theme. This challenge invites them to explore the art and science of telling a story, use the latest technology, and - most importantly - move an audience.

Total prize pool: $15,000

Competition starts: 1 February 2006 (Round closes 1 March 2006)

Interface Design

This challenge invites designers all over the world to create functional, compelling, and imaginative user interfaces. Entrants get a unique opportunity to envision an application, connect it to the theme of the Imagine Cup, and show the world how their applications and creative skills can bring it to life.

Total prize pool: $15,000

Competition starts: 1 February 2006

Algorithm

The algorithm invitational highlights a pure skill of one's ability to solve a problem. The Algorithm Invitational takes competitors through a series of brain teasers, coding challenges, and algorithmic puzzles, and seeks to engage the sharpest student minds in technology around interesting problems.

Total prize pool: $15,000

Competition starts: 1 February 2006

Project Hoshimi - Programming Battle

This popular competition uses a background story, comic style graphics, and very real challenges to test the skills of programmers everywhere and allow them to compete, directly online, with people all over their nation and eventually the world to see who has the fastest program to save the day. In Project Hoshimi - Programming Battle, students write the code representing the behaviour and the strategy of a team of characters going through different types of missions. The results are not only fun to create but also fun to watch as the programs play it out in a virtual 3D environment for all to see.

Total prize pool: $15,000

IT

The IT invitational challenges students to demonstrate proficiency in the science of networks, databases, and servers, as well as the areas of analysis and decision making in IT environments.

Total prize pool: $15,000

Competition starts: 30 January 2006

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