Two University of Houston computer science teams placed in the top four in the national game development competition sponsored by Microsoft.
The eight UH students were among 10 finalist teams invited to the last round of the U.S. Imagine Cup in Washington, DC and the winners were announced April 26. The contest attracts thousands of America’s brightest young techies before the final few are selected.
Team Ifrit Salsa, comprised of graduate student Daniel Biediger and undergraduates Alaa Gharandoq, Jesus Hernandez and Arifur Sabeth, took second with “RoboRecycler. ”Team Level 13, which includes graduate student Yu-Chao Chen and undergraduates Reggie Tye, Paul Diaz and Syung Whan You, won third with their game “Antitoxin Squad.”
Second place comes with a $2,000 prize and the third place team gets $1,000.
The final round in D.C. included presentations to a panel of judges as well as to industry executives, academics and government leaders at a Microsoft exhibition.
An even greater prize might still be in store for the Level 13 team. Microsoft also sponsors an international Imagine Cup, and the Antitoxin squad was among the 150 teams to advance to the second round of this worldwide competition. If they advance to the final round in Poland, they will vie for a grand prize of $25,000.
The theme of the game design competition was to “imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems” such as poverty and environmental sustainability. Using the United Nations Millennium Development Goals as guidance, teams were encouraged to have fun while tackling global issues.
In Antitoxin Squad, the goal is to destroy pollution through bioremediation, while RoboRecycler seeks to teach youngsters that recycling is easy and fun.
To see some of the local media attention the students have attracted, see ABC 13’s report here.
Listen to The Business Makers Radio Show report on the UH teams here.
For more about the teams, click here.
For more about Microsoft's Image Cup 2010, click here.
Visit the UH Interactive Game Development website here.
For photos, click here (.ppt).