AUIS Students dominate Microsoft Imagine Cup

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November 15, 2013 by throughwriting

Imagine Cup 2012.JPG

By TMR, Staff Reporter, AUIS Voice, 2012

For the second year in a row, students from the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani won top places in the KurdistanMicrosoft Imagine Cup, including the first place spot. Six teams – for a total of 18 students from AUIS – participated in the Imagine Cup 2012. Additionally, AUIS teams won the first, second, and third places. The Imagine Cup, held annually in various countries around the world, is a Microsoft-sponsored competition for college students.

According to official Imagine Cup website, “In ten years, the Imagine Cup has grown to be a truly global competition focused on finding solutions to real-world problems. Since 2003, over 1.4 million students have participated in the Imagine Cup with 358,000 students representing 183 countries and regions registering for the Imagine Cup 2011 competition.” In addition to AUIS, students from other universities in Kurdistan participated in the competition with the hope of winning the top

prize.

“All of our teams worked very hard on their projects, and we knew that they would be competitive,” said Roger Geyer, assistant professor of Computer Science and Business Administration at AUIS. “But to take the top five out of ten semi-finals and 1st, 2nd and 3rd spots in the finals was something we thought would never happen. It was just amazing to see our teams perform so well in front of 500 people during the finals. The entire AUIS community should be very proud of them” Lecturers and professors helped students create and code their programs.

Geyer told us the students had created a software design project that addressed one of the UN Millennium Goals. Each of the six teams that participated had had a mentor to help guide them, but the entire IT department had helped out. Katongo Lukwesa, Senior Lecturer of IT at AUIS, had been especially helpful to all the teams and attended the entire event in Erbil.

Students who have won the first place go on to a presentation and ceremony in a country that has been chosen by Microsoft. This year’s winning students, Soma Faraj, Yad Faeq and Heja Mohammed, will visit Sydney, Australia in July in order to present their program, “Easy Route” and compete with other teams around the world at the Microsoft Imagine Cup 2012 Worldwide Finals.

“EasyRoute is a traffic reporting system, which is designed to prevent road accident and traffic jam with an approach of low cost efficiency,” said Yad Faeq junior academic student at AUIS from Sulaimani.

Team Limitless from AUIS got the second place in the Imagine Cup competition, the team members were, Namo Marewan, Petra Bahaddin and Muhammed A. Faraj.

“Our application provides the best and easiest ways to connect a pregnant woman to her doctor 24/7. This application reduces the factors that prevent pregnant women from receiving good care, which are: living in remote areas, lack of information of handling critical conditions, inadequate services, and cultural practices. Thus, we will be eliminating and reducing critical conditions that every pregnant woman faces in their daily lives,” said Petra Bahaddin, junior academic student at AUIS from Sulaimani.

Team Cool Nest also from AUIS got the third place in the competition. The team members were Dlveen Nuri, Botan Burhan, Sarbast Majeed. “Cool Nest is a home automation system that allows its users to have the complete authority over their home appliances (controlling home devices remotely) through their windows phone while they are away. Cool Nest saves your houses from fire, devices from failure, decreases CO2 in the air, and is a convenient way to save energy (such as electricity) on unnecessary devices either fully functioning or standby as well as eliminating electricity leak that is responsible for almost 10% of your home power consumption,” said Dlveen Nuri, junior academic student at AUIS from Sulaimani.

“There was a huge difference between last year and this year’s event. There were many good projects, and the competition was more challenging,” said Faeq. “I guess next year will be way more advanced. Here is a growing region in terms of technology, and youth is always a huge part of taking it to the next step.”

Since the Imagine Cup is a global competition sponsored by an American company, everyone should speak and demonstrate their projects in English. Although the competition is not directly about English, the better and the more fluently a student speaks in English, the more chance the student has to win.“I actually had no doubt that our teams would emerge on top. I spoke of the “obvious miracle” of having AUIS in the top 3 right after observing our first day’s performance,” said Lukwesa.

Many people have spoken that the competition was not fair because it was based on speaking English, but Faeq told us AUIS students had been in a level to challenge every other teams in the competition. Hemin Latif, Professor of IT, said, “The winning team is going to represent the country in the World Wide final in Sydney and for this reason, the winning team should be able to communicate and present in English, which is the official language of the competition. However, speaking English is not enough to compete and win. The teams who took the first, second, and third places demonstrated actual software that solves an addressed problem.”

“My general attitude about the competition was that our teams were prepared adequately for the challenges. The setting of the competition was familiar to the teams and this added to the confidence that performance would be very good,” said Lukwesa.

It is not only speaking in English fluently and presenting student’s projects properly, it is also the information AUIS students have been taught, and the way the students enthusiastically presented their projects. “AUIS students demonstrate a wide range of skills in addition to their technical skills such as coding and programming. The additional skills such as presentation, handling questions, and their English language skills proved to be necessary to win in a competition such as the Imagine Cup,” Latif added.

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