Computer Scientists Named Imagine Cup Finalists

Math Dash -Drexel Computer Science
One team of Drexel computer science students designed a game to help elementary-school-aged students have fun learning math.

A Windows Phone game to help elementary students enjoy learning math and a software program to manage volumes of healthcare information are just two of the brilliant concepts in the running for one of the top honors in computer science: The Microsoft Imagine Cup. These two innovative technology designs, both imagined and created by Drexel computer science students, rose to the top from a national field of competitors and earned first-round selection in the national technology design competition this fall.

The Imagine Cup is considered to be one of the most challenging technology competitions in the computer science community. Teams from across the nation compete in three categories: software design, game design and IT challenge. A second qualifying round will be held in the spring and, from the combined pool of finalists, champions will be selected in each of the categories to potentially represent the United States in the World Cup Competition.

“Team Beta Max,” comprised of sophomore computer science major Daniel Sullivan and his  teammates from Temple and Penn State, is one of five finalists in the fall rounds in the “Software Design” category.  Sullivan's teammates are Nick Doyle, a computer science major at Penn State, and Nicole Micheletti, an art major at Temple University. Their project provides technology for monitoring community health and keeping track of patients that community health workers see every day. Sullivan was also a finalist in last year’s competition.

Imagine Cup 2012 U.S. Fall Finalist - MathDash
*UPDATE 3/15/2012* We have a new video for the Imagine Cup 2012 World Round 2 submission! It's updated, is WAY better, and made by yours truly - Check it out here - *UPDATE* We're one of the Fall Finalists! This means we're going to Seattle in April to compete for 1st place in the 2012 Imagine Cup! See our name on the Imagine Cup Finalist page: We are team Drexel Dragon, and here's our submission to the 2011 Imagine Cup Fall Submission. Introducing "MathDash!" One of the problems teachers face in today's education system is keeping students engaged. With computers, music players and other sources of entertainment constantly at their fingertips, students spend most of their time engaged with some form of entertainment. Sadly, when they go into the classroom, these sources are unavailable and they no longer feel engaged in what they are doing. However, by creating an educational game that students actually want to play, the power of these devices can be used for education outside of the classroom as well. Using a video game to teach a concept is not a novel idea. However, many educational games fail to be fun or fail to be educational. This typically occurs because developers take a fun game try to apply education on top of it or they take an educational topic and try to make it into a game. Instead of following one of these methods, we decided from the beginning not to hide the educational component, but to embrace it and make it fun. Because we made this decision at the start, we were not adding one component on top of the other. Instead, we designed fun and engaging gameplay that is built around math. Much of the feedback we've received has been that the players know that they're learning, but they still want to keep playing, proving that a game can be both fun and educational at the same time. MathDash fulfills this role and helps students learn by making learning fun. We hope you like it! Team Members: Keith Ayers (ME!) - Gameplay Programmer and Designer Matthew Lesnak - Project Lead and Architect N. Taylor Mullen - Graphics and UI Programmer Contact Info: Keith Ayers Twitter -!/keitha45 N. Taylor Mullen Website - Twitter -!/ntaylormullen Asset Contributors: - Taylor Kogut: All songs and sound effects - Sarah Gorczyk: Game trailer recording and editing - Madeline Harnos: Atom combination overlay, Atom selection overlay, Game UI, Menu screens - Jacob Nichols: Atom idle animations - Kevin Gross: Answer atom, Atom destabilization animation - Ross Bower: Atom explosion animation - Microsoft: Particle effect animations and scripts ( - Shapes4Free: Clock icon for timestop power-up ( Note: All code and assets not explicitly mentioned above were created solely by members of team Drexel Dragons. As such, we retain all copyrights associated with those works.

Senior computer science majors Matt Lesnak, Keith Ayers, and N. Taylor Mullen, are “The Drexel Dragons.” This group is one of three finalists in the fall rounds for the "Game Design - Windows Phone" category.  The team’s project, "Math Dash," is a fast-paced game aimed at elementary-aged students, to reinforce math skills via an entertaining Windows Mobile Phone game. Design and development of this game is part of the team's senior design project, and they are working with area schools to field test it.

"Imagine Cup is arguably the most prestigious serious game competition in the nation and the world," said Dr. Frank Lee, co-director of the Drexel Game Design Program and the advisor of “The Drexel Dragons” team.  “Many congratulations to the students as they advance in the competition.”

The U.S. Finals will be held in Seattle in April, with winners advancing to the Worldwide Finals in Sydney, Australia, in July 2012.