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'It's easy to win!'

Nikita Agarwal | August 05, 2003 10:54 IST

Three engineering students who won the prestigious Microsoft Campus Challenge competition share their experience

Last December, three engineering students came across an advertisement that read: "Do you want a head start to your career?"

It sounded very interesting and the trio decided to explore the possibilities. The ad was for the Microsoft Campus Challenge competition. They went on to qualify for the national finals held in Bangalore on February 18 where they bagged the first prize. 649 teams from 259 colleges across India took part in this second annual software development contest held by Microsoft.

The three talented boys, Yash Doshi, Tejas Shah and Abhijit Akhawe from the Vivekanand Education Society's Institute of Technology, went on to represent India at the Asia Pacific finals of the contest held in Beijing on February 28 and competed against 12 teams from the region.

The four winning teams - Singapore, Taiwan, the People's Republic of China and India - were awarded their prizes by Bill Gates, chairman and chief software architect of Microsoft Corporation, during the Next Generation Technology Forum held in Beijing, China. Students from all four winning teams were also invited to attend the Microsoft TechEd Conference in Barcelona, Spain from June 30-July 4. Furthermore, the team was invited to participate in the first worldwide student .NET competition. They went all the way to the world finals where they bagged second place.

Yash Doshi shares his excitement: "In the first round we were supposed to make an algorithm to solve an equation for x and the selection criteria was a better algorithm, cleaner and shorter code, and it was required that this must be done in .NET. None of us were familiar with .NET languages but I had heard that C# and Java are quite similar so we went and bought a C# book, went through it for a day and were ready for the challenge."

"For the next round we chose a hospital management project called Sanjeevani, because we felt that it had a lot of scope and social value. In this round, our competitors were a team from IIT Bombay. During this time we had our fifth semester university exams, so it was very difficult to do both together and we had to ask Microsoft to give us some more time. They gave us three more days to complete this round; if not for that we would have been out for good," continues Yash.

The trio explains why they decided on Sanjeevani: "In India computers are under-utilised in the field of medicine. They are only used for inventory and accounts management. But, we found great scope in unleashing the power of computers by integrating the different aspects of the medical field using the power and flexibility of Microsoft .NET."

"Our solution can revolutionise the Indian medical services by providing decision support system to doctors, instant access to patient's medical history, ability to view and manipulate x-rays, MRIs, interaction with bio-devices, real-time ICU monitoring and alerts with smart device integration. It is capable of analysing the vast amount of information captured from preventive and social medicine drives. It also provides increased collaboration between hospitals, doctors and patients," they inform.

 

The three are naturally excited at winning laurels. Says Tejas: "It was great feeling when we won and got to represent India at the Asia-Pacific finals. It was my first international trip and a great experience."

Adds Yash: "The contest has just opened a new horizon in my life. It has given me the opportunity to travel and learn what students in other countries are doing. Going to the TechEd in Barcelona gave me the opportunity to learn cutting edge technology. Now I feel more confident."

Abhijit, who is equally thrilled about the project's success, plans to study further for an MBA degree. Tejas is keen on pursuing a Masters degree from the United States in either network security or artificial intelligence and genetic algorithms.

Says Tejas: "Winning these type of contests is not tough. All you require is dedication and the will to win. We had no idea that we would be one of the global winners but now that we are, we have to believe it! My feeling is that it's easy to win. It's given me recognition, knowledge and an opportunity to meet international personalities like developer David Platt, amongst others."

He ends on an enthusiastic note: "Win. Win. Win. There cannot be a better experience than winning!"

 



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