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Imagine Cup World Finals 2014 winner Eyenaemia receives $50,000 and a private meeting with Bill Gates

Left to right, Code.org Founder Hadi Partovi, Reddit.com General Manager Erik Martin and Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella with Imagine Cup 2014 champions Jennifer Tang and Jarrel Seah of Australia.

Left to right, Code.org Founder Hadi Partovi, Reddit.com General Manager Erik Martin and Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella with Imagine Cup 2014 champions Jennifer Tang and Jarrel Seah of Australia.

On the final day of the Imagine Cup World Finals 2014 competition at the Washington State Convention Center, only one team emerged as the winner, but Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told the 125 students and 34 teams who made it this far that everyone who’s a finalist should think of themselves as a winner – especially since the competition began with 33,000 students.

“It’s been an amazing week for us at Microsoft. We did our first company-wide hackathon this week and we had over 100,000 people participating. And then to have a chance on Friday to come here and spend time with student developers, I wish every week was like this where you just live amongst developers all the time,” said Nadella, who received a rock star welcome from the audience.

“We are the original student developer company and the original tools company,” he added.

Eyenaemia, a team of two medical students from Australia, took home $50,000 and the Imagine Cup Friday morning in front of 3,900 Microsoft’s global employees attending the TechReady19 event at the convention center. They’ll also sit down with Microsoft Founder and Technology Advisor Bill Gates for a private mentoring session and receive an invitation to work with Microsoft YouthSpark for a week. With Eyenaemia, Jennifer Tang and Jarrel Seah created a simple and non-invasive screening tool for anemia that analyzes and calculates the risk for conjunctiva through eye selfies.

The Aussies, who won first place in the World Citizenship category, were victorious over the other two first place winners in the Games and Innovation categories, Brainy Studio from Russia and Estimeet from New Zealand, who also won $50,000 each.

The winners from the World Citizenship, Games and Innovation categories faced the judges for a final round of questions, live, to determine the 2014 Imagine Cup champion.

The winners from the World Citizenship, Games and Innovation categories faced the judges for a final round of questions, live, to determine the 2014 Imagine Cup champion.

For the first time in Imagine Cup’s 12-year history, these three teams had to pass a gauntlet of questions given to them by Nadella, Hadi Partovi (co-founder of Code.org) and Erik Martin (general manager of Reddit) during a half-hour live session.

They each had 90 seconds to answer one question posed in three rounds: Dream it (describing the spark that led to the idea), Build it (explaining the technology behind the idea) and Live it (focusing on business and marketing plans and the notion that an invention is only useful if you can bring it to world).

“I like the way you thought about the world as developing and developed, and even thought about the business model for the two.  Maybe you want to talk a little bit about insurance companies in the developed world and what they may do with your app,” Nadella asked Eyenaemia. “And then in the developing world, you talked about NGOs and other organizations.  So tell me a little more about how you plan to go to market with these governmental or non-governmental organizations.

“So I have to admit that my experience with insurance companies is lacking. I come from Australia, and we live in a world of socialized medicine,” Seah said, to cheers and applause. “But to the best of my ability, I will answer your question. So we think that insurance companies can use this as a preventative health measure.”

Nadella, Partovi and Martin voted unanimously on Eyenaemia, though they seemed to enjoy answers from the other competitors.

New Zealand's Estimeet won first place in the Innovation category for their app, a tool to help friends track each other and meet up.

New Zealand’s Estimeet won first place in the Innovation category for their app, a tool to help friends track each other and meet up.

Nadella asked Estimeet, “It’s an amazing app. I was just wondering, you have some inspirational stories to tell from your friends perhaps? Or what made you build this?  Were your friends usually late to parties? Or what was it?”

“So there was this time we were meeting at the train station. And one of our friends said they would be right there in five minutes. And as you can imagine, we were still waiting there two hours later, Estimeet responded. “For the Imagine Cup, we had four members in our team. One of them would be constantly late to the meetings.  And then, funnily enough, he wasn’t able to make it here today.”

For these finalists, who had worked for months (sometimes years) on their projects and pitches, Friday’s awards ceremony was the frosting on a fantastic week filled with presentations, mentoring and new friendships as they competed for $1 million in travel, cash prizes and that sit-down with Bill Gates.

They came into the packed exhibition hall at the convention center welcomed not only by the TechReady attendees, but also by the Husky marching band and their rousing rendition of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

In the World Citizenship category, SMART crew from Taiwan won second place and held up a Taiwan banner as they accepted their $10,000 check in navy blazers and blue button-up shirts. Their tool gives stroke patients the tools to measure their progress through a wearable motion detector system. Access Earth from Ireland won third place and received $5,000 for their “TripAdvisor for the mobility impaired.”

Russia's Brainy Studio won first place in the Games category for TurnOn, which features an electrical spark  of the same name, and a conservation message. At right, “Tetris” creator and Games judge Alexey Pajitnov.

Russia’s Brainy Studio won first place in the Games category for TurnOn, which features an electrical spark of the same name, and a conservation message. At right, “Tetris” creator and Games judge Alexey Pajitnov.

In the Games category, announced by “Tetris” creator and Games judge Alexey Pajitnov, the BOMON team from South Korea won second place and $10,000 for their “Under Bed” game. Illogic from Egypt placed third and earned $5,000 for “Puppy in Bubble,” a mobile physics-based puzzle.

In addition to the awards, the event launched a new partnership with Code. Org and its “Hour of Code” program.

“One of the things we want to do over the next year is continue to grow the scale of the folks that participate in the Imagine Cup. Part of how we want to do that is we want to continue to scale not just universities around the world, but to a younger generation of developers,” said Steve Guggenheimer, corporate vice-president and chief evangelist for Microsoft. “It turns out we have 7,000 Microsoft student partners around the globe who can take that program and take it to universities to high school, all around the world and get more and more students involved in coding.”

Guggenheimer also announced that next year’s Imagine Cup will again be in Seattle, which was a first for the Imagine Cup World Finals, which has previously been held in Egypt, Russia and New York.

Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff

Microsoft hacks its way into a new era with first-ever //oneweek

Microsoft kicked off its first-ever //oneweek on Monday, a global event that is part of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s effort to reinvent the way the company does business and encourage employees to adopt a challenger mindset and collaborate on the ideas and technologies of the future.

The four-day event included a company forum on Monday where leadership set priorities for the year, a hackathon on Tuesday and Wednesday, and a Product Fair on Wednesday and Thursday. In the slideshow below, check out the people and places of //oneweek, which spanned from Redmond, Washington to the United Kingdom as well as Israel and Hyderabad, India, among other locations.

Jeff Meisner
Microsoft News Center Staff

Weekend Reading: Aug. 1st Edition — Hackathon heats up //oneweek, a new Microsoft board member, Imagine Cup finalists compete in Seattle

Buckle up, Weekend Reading faithful. It’s been a blockbuster. As the sun set on July, it’s doubtful we could’ve packed in much more, even if we tried. Check it out.

Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella threw out the playbook on the traditional company meeting this year, opting instead for a week’s worth of events to get everyone fired up. With a hackathon and product fair, //oneweek did just that, while hatching some innovative ideas in the process.

Speaking of leadership, Microsoft, Wednesday, announced the addition of global wireless pioneer John W. Stanton, to the company’s board of directors. The move increases the board’s size to 11 members.

As Microsoft was reimagining the company meeting, 34 Imagine Cup finalist teams from as many countries were vying to be crowned champion. Grand prize? A private meeting with Bill Gates. Using code as their universal language, teams brought their ideas and their energy, and in one case, a robot panda.

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Also in the “new” category this week: an update to Windows Phone 8.1 that brings Cortana to China and the United Kingdom, while bringing everyone Live Folders for configuring your Start Screen; an Apps Corner for configuring your phone with specific apps and features; and Store Live Tile Updates to make finding apps even easier.

Microsoft also announced the addition of a two-star general to its ranks. As the company’s new vice president of military affairs, Chris Cortez will work to expand education and hiring efforts for vets, and be an advocate for new and existing Microsoft employees who have served in the military.

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In app news this week: Dig Evite? Meet Previte and make your summer party planning even easier, or earn rewards for watching T.V. and listening to music with Viggle, available now on Windows and Windows Phone. Also for music lovers, don’t miss a single show: Quello brings full-length live performances to you, on-demand, on Windows devices.

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This week on the Microsoft Facebook page, we got ready to go back to school by awarding a Surface Pro 3 to the first winner of our #8WordEssay contest! Join us on our page for the next chance at a prize.

CMG_8WordWinner

And from Snaps, this week, a candid shot of Nadella, getting ready backstage Monday at the Microsoft Company Forum, an employee event.

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Hope this edition of Weekend Reading inspires you to break tradition, create and innovate. See you back here next week.

Posted by Aimee Riordan
Microsoft News Center Staff

Hands-on games judging at Imagine Cup World Finals gives competitors advice and encouragement

The BOMON team from Korea showing their game, “Under Bed” to judge Adam Sessler (Photo credit: Joe Malinao / Filmateria)

The BOMON team from Korea showing their game, “Under Bed” to judge Adam Sessler (Photo credit: Joe Malinao / Filmateria)

While it was warm and sunny on Microsoft’s Redmond campus Thursday morning, inside the tents set up on the Commons’ soccer fields, it was cool and dark – perfect conditions for the continuing competition of the Imagine Cup World Finals – the hands-on judging round.

Lots of sound effects filled the tent – many emanating from the many games presented by the finalists. But in addition to those electronic beeps and dings, human voices in unison could also be heard above the din: “1-2-3!” – followed by giggles and laughter.

The BOMON team from South Korea, worked as a unified group in presenting their game, “Under Bed” to judges in their category, who arrived one-by-one for 15 minute sessions with each of the teams. Whenever judges had questions for them, they either answered together, or worked together to translate what the judge asked.

And, they all wore pajamas as their team uniform since their game is all about a little girl exploring the “Dust Kingdom” under her bed.

This is the second day of the Imagine Cup World Finals. These 125 students on 34 teams from as many countries had traveled thousands of miles, worked for months on their projects (and pitches) and triumphed over others in their category for this moment in front of the judges. At stake is more than $1 million in travel, cash prizes, hands-on mentorship opportunities and a private audience with Microsoft Founder and Technology Advisor Bill Gates.

BOMON means “spring is coming” – a name this team chose “to give people a fresh feeling of spring.” And their game, despite being about the world beneath a bed, was full of bright colors and whimsical cutesy characters (even the monsters). Their booth also had a full-color mini diorama of the game and its characters, as well as stickers and brochures.

They had their game set up so judges could try it on a tablet, a PC laptop and using a controller. They showed judges their tutorial, which explained the story of Judy and her bunny friend Toto, and how they explore Dust Land, Mold Garden, the Dust Factory and the Dust Queen Palace.

As they counted off the jumps – “1, 2, 3!” with judge Adam Sessler (who hosted TV programs like “X-Play” and “Gamespot TV” about videogames for 15 years), he gave them feedback, such as making a more exciting jumping motion (you can’t always have a live cheering section) and targeting all ages for the game, which now targets kids ages six to 10.

“He really liked our game,” said Boyoung Kim, 23, wearing Hello Kitty pajamas.

The next judge who saw them, award-winning producer Stephanie Brash, let them take her through the game, asking questions along the way about how long they’ve been working on the game, how it ends and how they’re going to pay for it. She also encouraged them to pursue merchandise that could be sold with the game, such as toys and pajamas.

“I’m jumping! I love to go up,” Brash said, of the game

BOMON, altogether: “Up, up, up!”

“I gotta go fast!” After clearing the level, Brash exhaled. “Whew.”

BOMON cheered: “Yeah!”

“It’s a very cute game and a very good demonstration,” Brash told them, as she left. “They’re so enthusiastic!”

Alexey Pajitnov, the judge who’s best known for creating “Tetris” gives pointers to the Genesis team from Greece (Photo credit: Joe Malinao / Filmateria)

Alexey Pajitnov, the judge who’s best known for creating “Tetris” gives pointers to the Genesis team from Greece (Photo credit: Joe Malinao / Filmateria)

Around the corner from BOMON, the four-man Genesis Game Studios team from Greece met with Alexey Pajitnov, the Russian game designer famous for creating “Tetris.”

They showed him “Dementia – Tales of Blackthorn Manor,” an online tactical turn-based, role-playing game. Each player chooses one of 12 characters to explore “The Blackthorn Manor,” a creepy old house filled with deadly secrets. At some point during the game, one explorer will trigger a scenario called a “curse.” When the curse is revealed, one of the explorers becomes a traitor who turns on the others. “Dementia” has 30 different curses, each with their own lore and unique gameplay.

At one scene, Pajitnov told them, “There should be some kind of explanation here,” and would give advice as he played the game, including marketing tips and testing on more players. He also suggested beefing up the multiplayer options so that users could store a game for others to upload and play against.

“He really liked our game, I think,” said Manos Chatziioannou. “That’s a big thing for us. He made ‘Tetris’!”

Alexey Pajitnov, the judge who’s best known for creating “Tetris” gives pointers to the Liaison Team from Brazil (Photo credit: Joe Malinao / Filmateria)

Alexey Pajitnov, the judge who’s best known for creating “Tetris” gives pointers to the Liaison Team from Brazil (Photo credit: Joe Malinao / Filmateria)

Pajitnov visited the Liaison Team from Brazil next, who presented him with their eponymous game. It’s a platformer with action and puzzle elements that focuses on the friendship of a boy called Lug and his faithful dog, Savior.

The game introduces a game mechanic based on darkness: If the characters are together, everything will be fine, but sometimes they will be forced to be separated and that’s when the darkness mechanic will trigger, new pathways, along with many new dangers.

Pajitnov let game designer Luiz H. Monclar take the reins and guide him through “Liaison.” Like he did with Genesis, he offered his advice.

He recommended they run usability tests and give players choices of dog breeds to better personalize the experience.

“This is the part where darkness enters the game,” Monclar said. “Darkness will disappear when they’re together. They can’t be too far apart.”

Pajitnov suggested improving the game by pumping up the emotional impact of the effects.

“I think you need to include as much visual effects in that transfer as you can,” Pajitnov said. “You do a very good job with features and lighting, but you should slow everything down in that moment. I would love your game much more if you can push my feelings more. You have everything else.”

Winners in the Games category, as well as Innovation and World Citizenship, will be announced Friday morning at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle.

Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff

Taking charge: Chris Cortez’s journey from 2-star general to Microsoft VP

You could call him “General.” Thousands of Marines did during his 33 years in the Corps. But Chris Cortez, true to his roots – the son of a father who picked fruit in the fields of Northern California, and whose devoted mother could not read or write – does not put on airs. It is not his way.

Calling him Chris is just fine.

His appearance is neat, tidy, spare. His hair and physique are still military style: trim and no-nonsense.

Within minutes of meeting him, you know this isn’t a guy who suffers fools gladly. He’s polite and pleasant, and genuinely likable, but direct and firm in the no-uncertain-terms way of a Marine.

It’s also quickly evident that he is a man with a fierce sense of duty to veterans, and a deep passion for education.

“In the months and years ahead, we’re going to have tens of thousands of veterans leaving the military” because of the troop drawdown in Afghanistan, he said. Getting those vets trained and hired, he said, is simply “critical” to helping them transition back to life post-service.

Now, as Microsoft’s vice president of military affairs, a new position, Cortez will work to expand education and hiring efforts for vets, and be an advocate for new and existing Microsoft employees who have served in the military.

He knows well how difficult the transition can be, going from the military to the private sector. When he retired from the Marine Corps in 2004, Cortez had been leading the Marine Corps Recruiting Command in Quantico, Virginia, recruiting more than 75,000 men and women.

Read the full profile at microsoft.com/stories.

Microsoft announces Windows Phone 8.1 Update details, with Cortana coming to new markets

This morning, Microsoft Corporate Vice President Joe Belfiore announced details about the first update to Windows Phone 8.1, which is being made available in preview form for developers next week. This update has new features for everyone around the world, and certain features customized for and by people in China.

With this update, Cortana will become available in China and the UK as a “beta,” and in Canada, India and Australia as an “alpha.”

In addition, the Windows Phone 8.1 Update will have several new features, including Live Folders for configuring your Start Screen; Apps Corner for configuring your phone with specific apps and features; and Store Live Tile Updates to make finding apps even easier.

Users already on the Windows Phone 8.1 Preview for Developers should receive the update next week. The Windows Phone 8.1 Update will roll out to consumers with devices running Windows Phone 8.1 in the coming months.

Learn more about the update at Belfiore’s blog post.

 

For Imagine Cup finalists, Code is the common language

The 2014 Imagine Cup comes to Seattle this week and that means 34 teams will be competing in the World Citizenship, Games and Innovation categories.

The finalists may come from around the world, but they speak a common language: code. And they’re using code to do some phenomenal things.

“With coding we can change our lives. We can change the world by using our keyboard to import,” says Ge Zhuochen, whose team created PersePhone, a peer-to-peer emergency communications platform hosted on Microsoft Azure. “It is amazing. It is the most universal language. Not just like writing a book, but doing active things that can change the world.”

Discover why code is the universal language of the future, and dive into the interactive map to meet the Imagine Cup finalists.

Aimee Riordan
Microsoft News Center Staff

Microsoft kicks off //oneweek and you won’t believe the hacks!

oneweek, hackathon, Eye Gaze

Members of the Eye Gaze hackathon team, who want to help Steve Gleason be able to use his eyes to turn his Surface Pro 3 on and off. (Photo Credit: Scott Eklund / Red Box Pictures)

There were “easier” projects that could have been done for //oneweek. Members of the Ability Hackathon: Eye Gaze team had a list of them, mulled them over and weighed their pros and cons. But Steve Gleason hadn’t asked the team about easy. He’d asked for some real help.

The former NFL player, living with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), uses his Surface Pro to speak with the help of eye-tracking technology. His story was shared when he narrated a Microsoft ad on TV during Super Bowl season earlier this year. Now he wanted to use eye-tracking technology to actually turn the Surface on and off, so that he wouldn’t have to ask for anyone’s help to do that.

The Ability Hackathon: Eye Gaze team immediately recognized the importance of the challenge – just as more than 2,200 teams from across Microsoft, in venues all over the world, are doing with their own projects as they get ready for the hackathon. The projects focus on everything from digital graffiti art to an add-in for Outlook that checks the validity of hyperlinks in an email before it’s sent.

The hackathon – Microsoft’s first-ever companywide exercise in growth hacking – is a key part of //oneweek, CEO Satya Nadella’s effort to reinvent the way the company does business and to encourage the rise of brilliant ideas no matter where they originate. Instead of holding just an annual company meeting for employees, as has been done yearly in September, there are several events on tap this week: A company forum on Monday where leadership will set priorities for the year, the hackathon on Tuesday and Wednesday, and a Product Fair on Wednesday and Thursday.

Senior leadership, in planning this week’s events, wanted to “kick off the new fiscal year in a new way,” said Frank X. Shaw, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of Communications. “We wanted to have a week-long celebration that was global in nature, as opposed to a single, Redmond-based activity that was streamed globally. We wanted to make sure that we combined the Product Fair in with the rest of the activities. And more importantly, we wanted to have a hackathon that the entire company could participate in.”

The hackathon being open to everyone at the company is also meant to encourage fresh ideas.

“It’s easy to think that a hackathon, or growth hacking, is for specific subsets of our employee base,” Shaw said. “But if you look at what it means to be a growth hacker, it applies to people in marketing, finance, engineering and sales too. We all have the opportunity to think really creatively about doing things differently in some really interesting ways.”

Steve Gleason, hackathon, Eye Gaze

Former NFL player Steve Gleason, who has ALS, relies on technology to help him communicate. (Photo Credit: Lauren Bowman)

Matthew Mack, one of the leaders of the Ability Hackathon: Eye Gaze team, said before the team decided on it, “There was a list of different options that we could have approached. But we asked some hard questions. We asked ourselves what would be most meaningful.”

Gleason’s request quickly rose to the top of the list.

“Think of Steve listening to music at night … or installing new drivers or a new player – and he has to shut the machine down, rather than restart it,” Mack said.

“He can’t restart the machine. He has to rely on a helper to come in and actually turn it on. We’re trying to give that person the independence to be able to turn their own device on when they need to, so that they don’t have to rely on a help aide, even if that helper is a loved one.”

There are more than 20 members on Mack’s team, including employees from Xbox, Surface, the Cloud and Enterprise Group and even a member from Microsoft Research based in China.

“I’ve never run a team as diverse across the company,” said Mack, who is a senior business program manager with the accessibility team, and previously had other roles at Microsoft, including being an operations manager for the security research and response team.

Tracey Trewin is team leader of the Family Album hackathon project, an idea which “sort of started from not a good place,” she said. “I realized that if something happened to me – my husband would have no idea where my pictures would be,” as well as the digital video she has created of their children over the years.

But, she said, the project isn’t just about rounding up and protecting family images and videos that are scattered and shared on various social media sites, as well as around the house.

“It’s also about how do we share these kinds of important events in our lives, going forward, when we don’t have things like photo albums that we put on the coffee table,” Trewin said. “Even from there, you think about how we also record those events now. It’s not just photos; it’s video, whether on a mobile device or a more sophisticated camera.”

Trewin, who is a general manager in Technical Evangelism and Development, is working with five others from areas of Microsoft including engineering, Cloud and Enterprise, Digital Life & Work Development and the Developer User Experience group.

hackathon, Family Album, oneweek

Some of the members of the Family Album hackathon team, from left to right: Doug Seven, Tracey Trewin and Tyler Gibson. (Photo Credit: Scott Eklund / Red Box Pictures)

“As I talked to more and more people, I realized it’s not just about your family album, it’s also about your life events,” she said. An analogy for what she wants to create would be “like a museum, but this would be a museum of your life. You have exhibits inside your museum, and some of them are your kids (and accessible only to them), and some of them are other special events in your life,” that are accessible to various friends and family members.

The idea, she said, with the gumption of a hacker and entrepreneur rolled into one, “really feels like one Microsoft should do.

“Microsoft is in a position where people will trust them to keep those memories safe. I think there’s just something comforting about putting them somewhere that is a place you believe is probably going to be around when you’re not here.”

Trewin’s enthusiasm is representative of what senior leaders want to see take hold, starting with //oneweek.

“When you’re trying to drive a cultural change like this, you always want to look for moments in time where you can make it real for people,” said Shaw. “But, if you don’t find the moment for people to actually take action, then it doesn’t provide the kind of change you want. The hackathon gives us the opportunity to build that muscle and say, ‘I learned something. I swam in data. I did something that I hadn’t been doing as part of my day job.’”

Suzanne Choney
Microsoft News Center Staff

Game theory: A conversation with ‘Halo’ executive producer Kiki Wolfkill

Somewhere off the main drag of sleepy Kirkland, Washington, tucked away from the restaurants and art galleries that line the waterfront, rests a setback, sunken office building. From the street, this mass of concrete and angles looks unremarkable. Inside, however, the nondescript building is home to 343 Industries and ground zero for the multi-billion dollar “Halo” video game franchise.

A towering replica of “Halo” protagonist the Master Chief stares down at me as I wait in the lobby for Kiki Wolfkill, executive producer for the “Halo” franchise and leader of linear storytelling for 343 Industries. Even as a statue, this faceless warrior looks intimidating. From his perspective, I am probably nothing more than dental floss.

Suddenly, a breezy, confident voice echoes down the hall towards me.

“Coffee or cocktails?”

This is not how my interviews usually start. But Wolfkill is not your usual interview subject. Much like the offer she has extended, there’s an interesting duality to her personality, one that she wears on her sleeve, literally, in the form of a tattoo of turbulent waves and plum blossoms meant to signify the balance between chaos and calm.

Wolfkill’s both a race car driver and self-proclaimed shoe-loving girly-girl. She’s a creative spirit and practical problem solver. She can enjoy a $30 martini or a cheap beer in a dive bar. Talk to her awhile and you can sense a gentle disposition, but you’ll also come to understand that she could easily pull a page from the Master Chief playbook and kick your Covenant ass if she so desired.

Read the full profile at microsoft.com/stories.

Editor’s note: The following is a post from Marc Freeman, a writer for microsoft.com/stories.

Weekend Reading: July 25th Edition—Exploring Station Q, a hub for next-level computing research

In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on potentially world-changing quantum computing research, the release of the Lumia 530 and a look ahead – and back – at the Imagine Cup.

At Station Q, headquarters of potentially world-changing quantum computing research, big brains inside and outside of Microsoft explore the exciting, mysterious, difficult and downright strange space where computer science meets quantum physics. Check out the full story to see how quantum computing could tackle problems that would take today’s computers eons to solve in the time it takes to grab a cup of coffee.

On Wednesday, we saw an announcement for the August rollout of the Lumia 530, an entry-level device for Windows Phone that delivers the latest Microsoft and Lumia innovations. This device will expand the reach of Windows Phone as the first Lumia introduced below 100 euros (at 85 euros, or about $114) and makes it easy to switch between two SIM cards. It also includes the latest version of Windows Phone 8.1, with Action Center and the Word Flow keyboard.

Lumia 530

Lumia 530

Three distinguished judges for the 12th annual Imagine Cup World Finals deliver a how-to for success for the 34 teams of young people from around the world who will be in Seattle from July 29 – Aug. 2. The judges for this year’s Imagine Cup, a Microsoft YouthSpark program, are a notable group of innovators, entrepreneurs, social advocates and most importantly, dreamers, who share one key characteristic: an insatiable passion for technology. Also, a look back at previous winners shows how they’ve continued to hone and revise the innovative work that earned Imagine Cup honors, and have created opportunities to get their products to market.

Ana Ferraz of Portugal won the Imagine Cup World Citizenship Competition in 2013

Ana Ferraz of Portugal won the Imagine Cup World Citizenship Competition in 2013

To win their 2013 Tour in the Southern Hemisphere, the British & Irish Lions rugby team had the support of more than 100 million fans and a secret weapon: Microsoft. No matter where the Lions turned, Microsoft had what the team needed to focus on the games and deliver an unforgettable experience for its fans – and for the team. If Microsoft was a rugby player on the Lions all-star 2013 team, it would’ve been the head coach – the one ultimately responsible for bringing every element together, says Charlie McEwen, head of sales and marketing for the Lions. He says it was responsible for communicating, adapting, directing and evolving the best components to succeed.

At San Diego Comic-Con this week, Xbox-related events were – and are – everywhere. One of the big buzzes was the debut of the “Destiny” beta (including its guns and weapons). Also, car aficionados got to see the first 100 cars that will be featured in “Forza Horizon 2.” Elsewhere in the Xbox world, soccer fans and many others probably got a little thrill from the placement of Clint Dempsey, U.S. Men’s National Team captain and Seattle Sounders forward, on the cover of “FIFA 15.” Finally, the latest Deals with Gold includes “Batman Arkham City” and “Batman Arkham Asylum” for Xbox 360, available now through July 28.

Destiny beta

Destiny beta

The big screen made a big impact on apps and games this week. The App of the Week was Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy,” part of Comic Book Fans collections on Windows Phone and Windows Stores. And the Staff App Pick gave fans a way to see “Guardians” at the movies: the AMC Theatres app for Windows. If you’d rather give your peepers a more active task, then read to your heart’s desire on Scribd for free on Windows Phone, PCs and tablets for 90 days. There’s also lots to save on with Red Stripe Deals, rides to your favorite places using Uber on Windows Phone, the arrival of “Modern Combat 5: Blackout” to the Windows Phone Store and an update to “Maleficent Free Fall.”

Guardians of the Galaxy: The Universal Weapon

Guardians of the Galaxy: The Universal Weapon

This week on the Microsoft Facebook page, we kicked off our #8WordEssay sweepstakes. Tweet a #8WordEssay about what’s happening in this photo for a chance to win a new PC.

#8WordEssay

#8WordEssay

Thanks for checking out this edition of Weekend Reading. Hope you’re enjoying your summer! See you next week!

Posted by Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff