RIT Student Team Honored at Microsoft Imagine Cup World Finals

Trio’s sensor network design project wins Engineering Excellence Award

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A student team from Rochester Institute of Technology has won an Engineering Excellence Award at the 2008 Microsoft Imagine Cup World Finals in Paris.

Ziyan (Joe) Zhou, Adam Risi and Zachery Shivers, named Team Sparx, programmed and configured a network of sensors to take readings of such environmental variables as temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, and set the system up to be accessible via cell phone. The team’s design previously won the Software Design Invitational at the U.S. Imagine Cup finals in April.

The Engineering Excellence Achievement Award, sponsored by Microsoft’s Enterprise Engineering Center, is designed to recognize three outstanding teams from the Software Development category that have created solutions that demonstrate the potential to be developed to scale with focused guidance from a Microsoft engineer.

A total of 370 students representing 61 countries and regions competed in the Imagine Cup World Finals in nine categories. Winners were announced during the Imagine Cup World Festival held at the Louvre in Paris, July 8.

“The Imagine Cup provides a forum for students around the world to explore new ways to use the power of software to help address some of the world’s toughest challenges,” said S. Somasegar, senior vice president of the Developer Division at Microsoft. “The high caliber of the students and their projects is evidence of the high level of innovation seen in the student community today, with a clear potential for real-world impact.”

This is the second year in a row an RIT student participated in the Imagine Cup World Finals. In 2007, Zhou was part a four-person team that developed a software application, utilizing social-networking technology, to assist in foreign language instruction. The team also included students from Western Washington University, Texas A&M University and McGill University and competed in the software design category.

“I am thrilled to have had a second chance to compete in the Imagine Cup World Finals, and I am incredibly pleased that the judges believed our project was worthy of such a prestigious award,” adds Zhou, a third-year computer science major. “The Imagine Cup event is like the Olympic Games, bringing together the best student researchers from around the globe, and I am truly honored to have had not one but two opportunities to participate.”

Note: Team Sparx includes Ziyan (Joe) Zhou a third-year computer science major originally from China now living in Henrietta, NY; Adam Risi a second-year computer engineering major from Essex Junction, Vt. and Zachery Shivers a second-year electrical engineering major from Kenosha, Wis.

Rochester Institute of Technology is internationally recognized for academic leadership in computing, engineering, biotechnology, imaging technology, and fine and applied arts, in addition to unparalleled support services for students with hearing loss. More than 15,800 full- and part-time students are enrolled in RIT’s 340 career-oriented and professional programs, and its cooperative education program is one of the oldest and largest in the nation.

For nearly two decades, U.S. News & World Report has ranked RIT among the nation’s leading comprehensive universities. The Princeton Review features RIT in its 2007 Best 361 Colleges rankings and named the university one of America’s “Most Wired Campuses.” RIT is also featured in Barron’s Best Buys in Education.