It is a very proud moment for Nepal as Nepali team SochWare won the Imagine Cup 2018. Imagine Cup is the world biggest technical competition also known as Olympic for techies. It is hosted by Microsoft Corp which is the well-known name of the technology world. This cup brings together student and developers from around the world to help resolve some of the world’s toughest challenge.
Team SochWare comprised of three members: Milan Thapa, Shishir Shrestha and Eeda Rijal. Behind the scene, there were last year’s participants Saurav Shrestha and Melisha Ghimire mentoring the team. And other mentors were Sachin Jung Karki, Deependra Raj Bajracharya, Ravi Mandal, Alok Pandey. Team SochWare shared their experiences with Glocal Khabar exclusively after winning the cup.
What is the story behind the name ‘SochWare’ as the team name?
SochWare Team: SochWare is simply an idea; a combination of ideas of hardware, and software together forming innovations. Innovations for greater goods through technology. This is why after a lot of mind storming we came up with the name SochWare: Soch= Ideas and innovation (Thinking) + Ware=Representation of hardware and software. Finally resulting in the company which works for it.
What was your team motivation to apply for Imagine Cup 2018?
SochWare Team: We had known about how every year Microsoft had held a competition called Imagine Cup. Nepal too had participated in the previous competition but wasn’t successful to grab the title. We really wanted to bring the cup home. We participated last year in national finals and also got selected for top 5 national finalists. Unfortunately, luck was not in our favour. We couldn’t be first to go for Regionals. We were not sure to apply this year. Confused, we had conversations about whether to participate or not. However, on the day of the deadline, we finally thought of giving it a try.
How did you prepare for the international competition?
SochWare Team: On the day of submission, without wasting any time, we came up with a presentation and submitted it a couple of minutes before the deadline. After a month or so, we got a mail saying we were selected. Unsure of the fact, we confirmed it with our mentors the next day and we got assured. We had 15 days for the completing process; all we had was research files, rough app, and motivation from our mentors and closed ones. It was a great challenge and we didn’t lose hope. Finally, after 15 days, we had a complete mobile app with a complete solution with ML embedded and tested by few. Those 15 days with the sleepless night, escaping colleges, exams; we were finally on a point where we had a complete app. We had heard from last years participant that experience would be amazing. We had a tentative idea how it would look like. Thus, we were prepared.
Can you also share us your moment of pride when announced winner?
SochWare Team: Along with us, 49 teams with cutting-edge technology arrived in the US. Finally, during the last day of the competition, during the announcement of AI category winner, we heard the presenter saying “All over from Nepal—Sochware”. Out of excitement, we jumped off our seat and went to the stage. That was one of the proudest moment as we had beat other nations on the most advanced technology at the moment—Artificial Intelligence; it was a great achievement. When we won, we couldn’t believe it. There were a number of reputed and renowned universities including Harvard and we standing there with the award was just amazing. We made proud of our country, family, friends and which brought a sensation of pride. When we got back from the stage, We still couldn’t believe the fact that the award was in our hands, that we had bagged that title. We have done something to uplift the country through tech. Every time we had presented our presentation with a warm Namaste, and when had won, everyone one of them greeted us with Namaste which was overwhelming.
What are your future plans for further development on your project?
SochWare Team: We are working on the product and will bring this out in the market soon. We had been involved in the community to enhance technology initially as well. We wish to expand this core knowledge to others and build other students to make their idea come into reality with less hassle. Along with solutions we make to develop Nepal and the entire world in near future we also wish to increase manpower to join us in the journey. We hope to encourage the people who look up to such events and not think less of themselves.
By: Sampada Dahal