So a couple of hours ago the top 12 finalists were announced that rise to round 2 of the world finals. Since you are reading this – you might guess – we are not really under much pressure because we didn’t rise up to the next round. Interestingly enough though I honestly thought we were quite good this year (remember I do have quite a bit of grounds for comparison) but it seems the judges really liked us, but they liked others even more. Anyway you win a few, you lose a few and you can’t really talk about losing if you are sitting in a four star hotel near the Eiffel tour relaxing and having fun. There are 49 other teams experiencing the same and the excitement is at a bit of a low, but there is one thing I know from the last years: Cry for about half an hour and then forget it and move on. Otherwise you lose the beauty of the remaining finals.

Anyhow, I promised some pictures but I though I’d just pop them up on Flickr for everybody to see. If you are interested which interesting projects did advance try the official blog. Will I participate again next year? Who knows. It depends. I could finally get the record for most imagine cup world finals, I could finally advance to a TOP12, but on the other hand I’m getting old, it’s a lot of work (but always worth it). But I have to start balancing work life, student life and all other activities.

So you’ll probably hear more about Paris now, I’ll blog some more in the next few days. I’ll leave you with some screenshots of BioMatch.

BioMatch_Screen5 This is the newest module we developed for the world finals. An environmental simulation that can forecast which species will become endangered and why.
BioMatch_Screen4 The two standard modules we developed for the first round, which were the Bayes prediction of where the species could most likely survive and the self organizing net showing clusters of species.

Just for completeness in case you are interested. The application is built using WPF (my first WPF application actually) and uses a couple of data mining algorithms to analyse data aggregated from different sources (such as the US PLANTS database) to simplify it, group it and show similarities. The visualisation helps the scientists to use and understand the simplified data.

As far as press is concerned we had interviews with a french magazine, with some netherland media of course with the Austrian press OE3 and derStandard (I’ll post them when they come out). The judges generally were impressed and expressed it at the end of the sessions. In the second presentation they even thanked us personally (something I hadn’t experience before) but I’m looking forward to seeing the presentations of the others on Monday to gain some insight into why they were better. To finish off with a Soma’esque reference to a past Imagine Cup world finals.