In addition to the all-expenses paid trip to Sydney sponsored by Microsoft, finalists competed for a myriad of cash prizes totalling US$175, 000.
Teams from Singapore performed well under pressure, with Joshua Sim, 24, from Nanyang Polytechnic - School of IT, clinching third place in the IT Challenge competition, and the team from Nanyang Polytechnic progressing to the final 20 teams in the Software Design Category.
Joshua’s story is an inspiring one.
The second year Diploma in Information Security student took the ITE route and completed his Higher NITEC before joining Nanyang Polytechnic.
There, he was approached by his lecturer who suggested that he consider entering the competition.
Preparation was key. Joshua spent many nights reading books on technology, trawling online IT forums and building servers for various “problem” scenarios from scratch.
The competition was intense and included a 24 –hour hands-on lab challenge where competitors were provided a scenario which they had to provide a solution for.
“The most nerve wrecking thing was the feeling of not being able to succeed [in getting the servers up]. It was nervous waiting to see if the servers would come up... because if it doesn’t come up I know that I would have to spend another hour on this! The adrenaline [made me nervous] as well – didn’t feel sleepy for the entire 24 hours!” he said.
Joshua walked away with a US$3,000 cash prize which he hopes to invest in a computer that will aid his ambitions of participating in next year’s Imagine Cup competition in Russia.
While Joshua was busy building servers in the IT Challenge, the Software Design team from Singapore shared its innovative project, the Dementia Assistance and Recall Engine (DARE), a digital scrapbook designed to assist in Reminiscence therapy for patients with dementia.
Nur Nadiah Binte Zailani, 23, Eustace Zheng, 20, Koh Kai Wei, 20, and Mong Yunheng, 20, spent a year conceptualising this interdisciplinary project before putting the plan in motion 4 months prior to the start of the competition.
While the group did not win any prizes, all agreed that the experience had been a rewarding one.
“Of course competition is never easy but everyone is a winner. Never ever give up on what you truly believe in, because people might not believe in you initially but if you keep true to your beliefs, one day you can win them over and that’s where you can make the social impact,” said Eustace.
The members of the group describe their experience as “eye-opening” and have plans to develop their technology further so that it can be applied and sold commercially.