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Are you a student, can be able to code and looking to change the world? Microsoft is looking for you! Earlier this week Microsoft announced that they are looking for entries in the Imagine Cup 2018 competition. Started about 15 years ago, Imagine Cup is a global competition that seeks to empowers the next generation of computer science students. They do this by enabling the students to team up and use their creativity, passion and knowledge of technology to create applications that affect how we live, work and play.

When someone looks at the valuation and influence of platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, it is hard to imagine that they started out as student projects. What this means is that the idea that you have in your head could be the next big thing and through the help of competitions like the Imagine Cup one can be able to realize them. Imagine having your app or service being used by millions of people around the world. Other than cash prizes, the Imagine Cup also gives you access to mentorship from the best in the industry which is invaluable.

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Last year’s overall winners of the competition were team X.Glu from the Czech Republic. The team of three created a hardware, software and gamification solution to help children with diabetes succeed at managing the disease and their overall health. ResCue a platform that uses drones to enable rescuers to reduce response times during natural disasters was created by a team from Argentina and emerged third place in the competition. The platform enables rescuers to identify people in danger at natural disasters by using drones that take pictures of a certain area, designated by the coordinators at the HQ of the incident. The drones automatically fly through that area by using node count generated algorithm, which is an efficient way to cover large amount of territory.

This year the Cup has added three special awards that represent the current state of digital transformation. That is Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and Mixed Reality each of them come with a $15,000 prize. In the case of Artificial Intelligence, the project with the best intergration of AI +Cognitive Services takes the award. In Big Data the team with the best implementation of Data + Analytics will take the award. Whereas for Mixed Reality, the best use of HoloLens, VR or AR will win. Overall winners in the Cup will walk away with $100,000, an Azure grant and a mentoring session with Satya Nadella, the Microsoft CEO.

Entries for the Kenya competition started last month with the regional winners being announced between 26th to 27th of April 2018. Students from all Colleges and Universities are eligible to enter and there are no age limits. If you feel that you have the next big idea, click here to register. Deadline for submissions is 25th April 2018, so don’t be left out.

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