Minister Hanafin Announces Students from Sligo IT as Irish Microsoft Imagine Cup Champions 2008
ParkIT to represent Ireland in global final in France this summer
Dublin: Friday 11th April 2008 – Minister for Education and Science, Mary Hanafin T.D today announced that Sligo IT will represent Ireland at the global finals of Microsoft’s Imagine Cup 2008, the company’s global student technology competition, with their project ParkIT. Now in its sixth year, Imagine Cup challenges students to "imagine a world where technology enables a sustainable environment". As winners of the Irish finals, ParkIT will travel to France this summer to compete against students from all over the world at the global finals of the Microsoft Imagine Cup 2008.
Speaking at the awards ceremony Minister Hanafin said, “For students to thrive in a world enabled by information technology, they must be equipped with the skills to make sense of and use the technology that surrounds them. They need to know how to learn new skills as quickly as technology creates new challenges.
“The Imagine Cup inspires creativityand ingenuity in the use of technology. ParkIT have exhibited all these qualities and are worthy winners of the national stage of the competition. I understand the standard of entry was outstanding and I have every confidence that ParkIT will go forward and do Ireland proud in the global finals. I would also like to acknowledge Microsoft’s invaluable support of this exciting initiative.”
This is the second year that Ireland has hosted a national Imagine Cup competition. It attracted entries from Universities, third level colleges and Institutes of Technology across the country with over 520 students registered for the competition from colleges, north and south of the border.
Paul Rellis, Managing Director, Microsoft Ireland congratulated the 2008 winners saying, “We were thrilled with the standard and quality of the projects entered into the 2008 Imagine Cup. It is great to have so many students in Ireland interested in technology and developing projects to enable a sustainable environment. I would like to congratulate all the finalists for making it this far and in particular congratulate our winners. Last year’s Imagine Cup was a huge success with Irish Students travelling around the world to successfully compete against the brightest minds from every corner of the earth. This year we’ve seen an increase in the number of students participating and in the projects that have been submitted. I believe that the Irish representatives in the 2008 finals will be a huge success.”
Kieran Stafford, from the winning team said, “We’re delighted to have been chosen from amongst our peers to represent Ireland in such a prestigious competition. We look forward to representing Sligo IT, our fellow students and our country in France this summer and we are grateful to Microsoft for the opportunity.”
Many motorists travel around and around town centres trying to find parking spaces. This adds to congestion and adds significantly to carbon emissions. With this in mind students from Sligo IT are proposing an application which enables the provision of real time parking information. Using cameras and software, it monitors car park spaces and can determine when a space vacant. This information would then be sent to a central database, which would be used to drive a real time parking information system that provides users with available parking data near their location on request. The user would then be able to use a portable device such as a sat-nav system or their mobile phone to request a parking space near their current location or at a specified location.
Last year, Microsoft brought together a group of leading companies to support the initial Irish Imagine Cup competition. The success of last year has seen those sponsors return and a number of new sponsors getting involved. This year the Gold sponsors are Enterprise Ireland and Riverdeep Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing. Other sponsors include Lenovo, Imag!ne Telecommunications and Lero, the Irish Software Engineering Research Centre.
ParkIT will now compete with students and projects from around the world at the final in France. The overall prizes include a chance to Silicon Valley to take part in the Imagine Cup Innovation Accelerator. It propels Imagine Cup software design champions into the next stage of developing their innovative ideas as a business. The Imagine Cup Innovation Accelerator, a joint project from Microsoft and BT, is a prize awarded to the best software design teams. Teams selected for the Innovation Accelerator program receive technical support and business coaching to create the must-have technology and communications applications of the future. Over an intensive two-week period, students further develop their designs and viable business plans with close guidance from some of the best minds at Microsoft and BT.
About the Imagine Cup
The competition, which is open to all third level colleges and universities, consists of nine categories spanning team-based challenges like software design and short film to individual challenges involving algorithms and game programming. Students’ work will reflect valuable, real-world solutions that address the pressing global environmental issues while giving them the opportunity to compete for generous cash prizes.