UWS students are developing tomorrow's technology today

Date: 12/06/2009

Information Technology students Brent Wardlaw, Andras Mendik and Royston Bowmaker achieved second place at the Australian final of Microsoft's Imagine Cup with their original web-based technology aimed at reducing bushfire hazards.

Only five teams were selected to compete in the competitive national finals.

Brent, Andras and Royston formed 'Team Xtreme' for the competition and developed a new application called the Fire Location and Managing Environment (FLAME).

In their Executive Summary, Team Xtreme outlined how global warming and arson have caused some of the most devastating bushfires in recent times, such as the Victorian fires in early 2009 in which over 200 lives were lost and 1,000 homes destroyed, not to mention the detrimental impact on native species population numbers and habitats.

"Team Xtreme wanted to tackle a global, national and local issue where bushland hazard reduction needs to be improved," said Brent.

"The proposed FLAME environment will give the end user the power to efficiently and effectively manage all back burning and fire-related calamities, whilst ensuring the safety and security of all local flora and fauna as well as adherence to local rules and regulations."

The FLAME environment drew upon Microsoft technologies including AJAX, ASP.NET, SQL Server and the Virtual Earth CTP for displaying all mapping and implementation tools.

Team Xtreme worked with the Minto Fire Department to gain insight into safe flora and fauna management, back-burning practice, business logic and the preferred layout and design for a user interface.

The Australian finals of the Imagine Cup were held at Microsoft headquarters in North Ryde on Wednesday 27 May.

Sharon Griffith, Lecturer in the School of Computing and Mathematics and team mentor, said she was proud of the team's achievements and believed they had represented UWS with diligence.

"The team performed extremely well on the evening of the finals. Not only had they presented a 'ready to deploy' solution, but achieved a fantastic result within minimal time. The competition opened in July 2008, and our students produced this project in only three months.

"Since March, the team has put in a 110 per cent commitment to the project. This is the first time UWS has entered the competition, and we are looking forward to winning the Australian finals next year. This is only the beginning."

This year more than 300,000 students from 100 countries registered for the Imagine Cup, which is now in its seventh year.

"The Imagine Cup inspires students to use their creativity to help change the world for the better by discovering new ways to use technology to address some of the world's toughest challenges," said Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer.

"Some of the greatest innovations and companies of tomorrow will be created by today's students. The Imagine Cup presents a fantastic opportunity for them to compete with students from around the world."



Media Officer

Kristy Gleeson
02 9678 7085, 0414 018 498