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Conducting Technical Competitions to Spur Innovation

Intel sponsors contests in a number of countries that give college students a taste of the real world

Conducting Technical Competitions to Spur Innovation

Stimulating interest in technology

Throughout the world, Intel sponsors technical contests that stimulate interest in electric engineering, computer science, and software design, and help cultivate future innovators. Many of these competitions put higher education students in situations similar to those they will face in the real-world with time, budget, and/or product component restraints.

The rewards may vary, but the accolades for the winners are similar. Here are some of the contests we are currently conducting around the world.


One of our longest-running contests is the Embedded System Design Invitational Contest—also known as the Intel Cup Electronic Design Contest—which the PRC government initiated and Intel solely sponsors. This international contest, held every two years since 2002, challenges undergraduates to apply innovation and creativity to create a project using a platform based upon the Intel® AtomTM processor. The overall 2012 winner was a team from The Chinese University of Hong Kong with a project titled “Improving Communication Ability of the Disabled -Chinese Sign Language Recognition and Translation System”.

See all of the 2012 winners and a video about the event. >

The 5th National Collegiate Software Innovation Contest involves both an opportunity for individuals to learn new skills and technologies, but also for teams to compete by developing a software product. The undergraduate or graduate students must utilize open web platform technologies such as HTML5, Web GL/CL, web applications, and device APIs to create software products that can take the form of a web runtime achievement, open web platform development tools, software services, or a hybrid/offline or online app. The participants include teams of 3-5 students from the 37 national key software colleges.


While the “Accelerate Your Code”  contest has most of its contestants from Russia, Romania, France, and Germany, there is also participation from other countries outside Europe. Held twice each year, the last contest had some 800 students participating in a contest to optimize and parallelize code. The competition also involves professors and helps to introduce parallel programming into the curriculum. Winners in the most recent contest each received an UltrabookTM device.

In collaboration with universities like Cairo University in Egypt, Polytech Sousse in Tunisia, SUPINFO International University in France, and Polytechnic University in Bucharest, Intel is also running a long-term contest called “Software Incubator.” Students get help from Intel and work in lab environments for six months on complex projects including Windows* 8 and Ultrabook development, Android*, embedded Linux*, System on Chips.


In an effort to spur ideation and innovation amongst students and working professionals in embedded technology, Intel hosts the Intel® India Embedded Challenge, a national level competition. The competition creates a platform to explore the endless possibilities of embedded applications based on Intel Architecture. A unique feature of this initiative is the mentoring that Intel technologists provide the finalists for a period of four to five months. Every year close to 40 Intel technologists volunteer their time and expertise to guide the budding engineers and entrepreneurs. The finalists receive an Intel® AtomTM Processor kit to assist them in prototyping their ideas.

Since the inception of this program in 2010, over 10,000 students have registered for the program, submitting over 1600 innovative ideas and prototyping over 100 innovations based on embedded applications.

Watch a video about the Intel India Embedded Challenge and read about the 2012 winners >


In Malaysia, Intel sponsors the Innovate Malaysia Design Competition in collaboration with six other companies and two government agencies. For the Intel component of the contest, the participants are asked to design a system based upon an Intel® AtomTM processor-based desktop board. Innovate Malaysia is open to undergraduates enrolled in a university in Malaysia in their final year project.


The Intel Cup Mexico is an embedded systems design contest open to all active undergraduate students in Mexican universities enrolled in electronics, computer science and telecommunications programs.

Students will participate in teams of three to develop a project based upon an Intel® AtomTM processor-based development board that will demonstrate technical mastery and innovation in their solution.

The first and second place winners will receive a trip for two to China to present their projects in the Intel Cup China competition. The top three winners all receive an Intel® UltrabookTM device and cash.

Judges recently selected the 20 best proposals. By November, they will select the three winners.

Get all the details on Intel Cup Mexico >


The Intel Taiwan Intelligent Systems Design Student Contest, sponsored by Intel Taiwan, 4C Electronic Education Consortium/Ministry of Education, and National Sun Yat-Sen University, enables students to use their creativity to solve real world problems using embedded computing solutions. It also contributes to a stronger ecosystem that will in turn strengthen the embedded systems industry pipeline in Taiwan.

The finalists attend a mentoring and development workshop where they are able to interact with Intel technologists, learn more about the Intel® AtomTM processor that they will be utilizing in their designs, and develop an action plan. The following month, the teams reconvene, and representatives from industry, government and academia select winners.

Learn about the 2012 winners >

United States

The Cornell Cup USA, presented by Intel, empowers collegiate teams to invent new innovative applications of embedded technology based upon the Intel® AtomTM processor. The recently completed second annual competition, held at Walt Disney World, gave teams the opportunity to win up to $10,000.

Intel and Cornell University designed the competition to work with senior-level design courses and M.Eng capstone projects. Teams must demonstrate the professional design process by defining the challenge they are trying to solve, describing how their solution will meet the challenge’s needs, and finally show how they will measure how well their solution meets this need.

Together with an emphasis on testing, planning, effective decision making and communication, this competition helps fill a critical gap in academia.

The inaugural competition in 2012 featured 150 students from 22 teams. This year, the hosts are gearing up to handle up to 200 students and faculty from 40 teams.

Read about the Award Winners for 2013 Cornell Cup USA >

Hear Kevin Sellers of Intel and David Schneider of Cornell University discuss their partnership in the Cornell Cup >