A new school year starts and a new Imagine Cup begins! This year's theme is "Solve the World's Toughest Problems." So, what are the world's toughest problems? The United Nations has identified some of the hardest challenges in the world today in its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This year the Imagine Cup uses these ambitious challenges as a guiding light to inspire change all over the world. You can the list of problems in the picture below and click on it to learn more.
I was listening to the BBC World Debate over the weekend on the progress of achieving MDGs. It was worrying to hear that based on current developing trends, we won't be able to reach many of the MDGs by 2015. The UN says that we face a "development emergency". With the current financial crisis spreading globally, is the international effort to achieve these MDGs in a serious problem? Or even reverse the success we've made in the past several years? Our own Bill Gates joined with UN and government officials to try to answer these questions and to debate the best way of forward.
This is a serious problem and exactly the right time to have Imagine Cup based on these millennium goals. This year we have 9 categories of competition: Software Design, Embedded Development, Game Development, Robotics and Algorithm, IT Challenge, MashUp, Photography, Short Film, and Design.
The Design category this year expends the Interface Design category from last year. Now students can explore creative possibilities not only for software applications interface, but also any other type of design creative manifestation, such as PC hardware and Peripherals. This is exciting! I hope it opens the competition to Industrial design and engineering students. Check out the details of the design competition here.
So, start think about using technology to help a brother or sister get an education, find entirely new approaches for medicine, discover ways to counter the inequalities that exist between genders around the world, or fight global warming. I can't wait to hear what you can come up with!