SA’s top student programmer announced

The South African leg of the Imagine Cup has yielded a winner who will represent the country in the finals next year

Kieran Ekron, a student from the University of Johannesburg, has won the South African leg of the Imagine Cup 2009, a Microsoft-sponsored technology competition which pits the world’s best student programmers against each other. Ekron will go on to represent South Africa at the global Imagine Cup finals in Warsaw, Poland, in July 2010.

With over 2460 computer programming students from across the country competing, Ekron’s submission was judged to be the best entry in the final of the competition held at the Silverstar Casino this week.

Ekron’s Sim Stadium application provides stadium managers and designers critical information about potential problems in stadium designs, such as areas with a high degree of pedestrian congestion and crowd behavioural prediction.

Sim Stadium is a research project aimed at simulating the dynamics of a football stadium before, during and after a game. The focus of the project is on modelling the behaviour of the spectators at a football stadium. Spectator behaviours – such as finding the right seat, buying refreshments and going to the bathroom – can all be modelled.

The other big winners at the Imagine Cup both came from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. Team Abantu Developaz won the Development category with their project EASy (Education Assist System) – a website that helps learners and teachers prepare their daily academic activities up until the final exams.

Team Solo won the Game Design and Development category with Engage – a multiplayer arcade space shooter game that supports up to four players. Engage can be played on both the Windows PC and Xbox platforms across a Local Area Network (LAN) or the Internet.

The head of Microsoft’s developer and platform team, Clifford de Wit, said the judges had been “blown away” by the high calibre of the projects and the levels of innovation displayed.

“These represent the next generation of technology and business leaders in South Africa. Their creativity and innovation demonstrates how technology can make a difference in peoples’ lives in the way we think, work and communicate,” said De Wit.

“Students are the ones who get to engage with technology and make it real for us. Those aspiring to become technology leaders need to continue getting their hands dirty playing with technology and pushing the boundaries of innovation,” De Wit concluded.

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SA’s top student programmer announced