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Lisa Herrmann
IU School of Informatics

Last modified: Monday, July 14, 2008

Team of IU Informatics graduates wins Microsoft’s prestigious Imagine Cup competition

Creators of Web site used in IU Energy Challenge nab first place in interface design category at Imagine Cup finals in Paris

July 14, 2008

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Two Indiana University School of Informatics graduates took a first-place award at the prestigious Imagine Cup finals, an international competition sponsored by Microsoft Corp. and held this year in Paris. The pair has enjoyed enormous success recently, combining winning a highly competitive international competition with developing a project that had an impact on real-world environmental sustainability.

David Roedl and Will Odom, both alumni of the School's human-computer interaction design program, developed the idea and subsequent Web site ( for the recent "IU Energy Challenge," which pitted residence halls across campus against one another to achieve a significant reduction in electricity and water consumption.

Imagine Cup

David Roedl, left, and Will Odom

Print-Quality Photo

The pair entered their Web site design in Microsoft's Imagine Cup Interface Design competition, along with 200,000 other entrants, and subsequently were selected as finalists.

Once they reached the finals, the competition was ramped significantly. Roedl and Odom were given an on-site design challenge dealing with monitoring environmental air quality that they were required to complete in only 24 hours. They then presented their design to a distinguished panel of judges that included Surya Vanka, senior manager of user experience at Microsoft; Tom Chi, senior director of user experience at Yahoo; and Neil Churcher, head of design and usability at Orange.

Overall, a total of 370 students from 124 teams representing 61 countries competed in the finals in nine different categories. Only two of the 27 winning teams in the competition were from the United States. The theme of this year's Cup was the environment; specifically, participants were encouraged to "imagine a world where technology enables a sustainable environment."

"I extend heartfelt congratulations to Will and Dave for this outstanding accomplishment," said Karen Hanson, Indiana University Bloomington provost and university executive vice president. "The campus was already proud of and grateful to them for their sustainability work, as their project helped lead the way to increased energy conservation in our residence halls. That this work has been internationally recognized in the award of the highly competitive Imagine Cup is superb news. This prestigious honor reflects well on our School of Informatics, its human-computer interaction design program, and the entire Bloomington campus -- as well as, of course, on Will and Dave."

The world's premier student technology competition, Imagine Cup is one way Microsoft is encouraging young people to apply their imagination, their passion, and their creativity to technology innovations that can make a difference in the world -- today. The contest spans a year, beginning with local, regional and online contests whose winners go on to attend the global finals held in a different location every year.

Founded in 2000 as the first School of its kind in the United States, the Indiana University School of Informatics is dedicated to research and teaching across a broad range of computing and information technology, with emphases on science, applications, and societal implications. The school includes the Departments of Computer Science and Informatics on the Bloomington campus and Informatics on the IUPUI campus.

The school administers a variety of bachelor's and master's degree programs in computer science and informatics, as well as doctoral programs in computer science and the first-ever doctorate in informatics. The School is dedicated to excellence in education and research, to partnerships that bolster economic development and entrepreneurship, and to increasing opportunities for women and underrepresented minorities in computing and technology. For more information, visit