Manchester Metropolitan University

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Computing student "Best in UK"

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COMPUTER game designer Dominic Green, 21, has beaten students from across the UK to win the prestigious Microsoft technology competition, The Imagine Cup.

Dominic, who graduates in July from the Computer Science degree at MMU, was one of hundreds of undergraduates challenged by the US software giant to "imagine a world where technology enables a sustainable environment".

He devised a series of interactive games with London student Ben Nunney and has won through to the World Final where the winner will claim a $180,000 prize.

One of the games involves controlling a man to run around a house turning off all the lights and gadgets. A running counter shows children how much energy is wasted before they find the plugs. At the end it tells you how many Xbox games you could have bought (in a year) with the money spent on wasted electricity.

Hit with kids

"It's totally relevant for youngsters," says Dominic, from Stockport. "There's no point telling kids how many kilowatt hours they’d saved."

Dominic’s co-creator Ben Nunney, a trainee teacher, has taken the game into schools where it has gone down a storm with children: "We’ve had the product tested in several schools and used some very positive feedback to improve the prototype considerably. Teachers say you need to make it as interactive as possible.”

And there’s been fulsome praise from the Minister of State for the Environment, Phil Woolas, who was “hugely impressed” by the students’ ideas.

Dominic and Ben will now be going to Paris where last year 120 teams from across the globe took part in the competition.

Tough

Dominic, who attended Aquinas College, Stockport said the process was very challenging: "Round 1 was about having a great idea to raise awareness of the environment through technology. Once we got through that we were sent on a business course in Reading and then there was another round where we had to present to senior executives in London.

"It’s been tough but superb preparation for what I want to do which is to become a software developer."

And Dominic has some more good news – he’s landed a full-time job with Microsoft as an ‘Academy Graduate’.

For more information about Computer Science and Computer Games courses at MMU, go to www.docm.mmu.ac.uk/Courses

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