Drexel Computer Science Students Advance to Worldwide Finals of “Microsoft Imagine Cup” Technology Design Competition
May 30, 2012
A team of Drexel undergraduate computer science majors earned national acclaim as part of the Microsoft Imagine Cup technology design competition. Team “Drexel Dragons,” who designed a smartphone app to help make learning math concepts more fun, claimed the U.S. title in the competition and was recently selected, from a field of international champions, to participate in the worldwide finals in Sydney, Australia in July.
“I was absolutely delighted and proud with Drexel Dragons' performance,” said Dr. Frank Lee, co-director of the Drexel Game Design Program and the advisor of the Drexel Dragons. “Taking first place in Game Design: Phone category and now having the chance to compete against the best teams from all over the world is a truly remarkable achievement for this group of students. Their success is something that everyone at Drexel can be proud of.”
The Imagine Cup is considered to be one of the most challenging technology competitions in the computer science community. Teams from across the nation compete in three categories: software design, game design and IT challenge. The Drexel Dragons advanced through two rounds of competition, which began in the winter and culminated with the U.S. Championship in April. Overall, 106 teams from 75 different countries advanced to the worldwide finals from a field that included more than 300,000 students this year.
The team is comprised of senior computer science majors Matt Lesnak, Keith Ayers, and N. Taylor Mullen. This group is one of 10 international teams that have reached the highest level in the phone game design category. There work will be up against groups from Brazil, the Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Indonesia, Korea, Lithuania and Romania.
“For me, it’s a verification that all of the work we put into the project was worth it,” Lesnak said. “The competition gave us a chance to showcase what we’re capable of and I couldn’t be happier with the results.”
The team’s project, "Math Dash," is a fast-paced game aimed at elementary-aged students, to reinforce math skills via an entertaining Windows Mobile Phone game. Design and development of this game is part of the team's senior design project, and they are working with area schools to field test it.
“It’s not every day that you can be a part of an experience such as the Imagine Cup,” Mullen said. “MathDash has been a game that’s grown a tremendous amount over its life span. We wanted to go in there with it being fun, polished, and educational and I think we definitely pulled that off.”
Team Drexel Dragons was one of two Drexel teams that advanced to the U.S. Championship. “Team Beta Max,” comprised of students from Drexel, Temple and Penn State designed a technology for monitoring community health and keeping track of patients that community health workers see every day.