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Old 05-30-2006, 11:30 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Invasion of Robots Contest (from Microsoft)

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Following the launch of the Windows Live Messenger Beta, Microsoft has announced the start of its new contest, "Invasion of Robots Contest".

Through this contest, Microsoft is challenging developers worldwide to create conversational robots or BOTs for MSN Messenger and Windows Live Messenger.

According to company sources, the "Invasion of the Robots Contest" reflects how Microsoft is ensuring that its platforms have an appeal on Web 2.0. The Robots or BOTs are amazing software programs that enhance user-experience in a messenger application. To assist developers, Microsoft is providing three free SDKs (Software Development Kits) that developers would have to use for the challenge.

The "Invasion of Robots Contest" is open to all individual technology developers or authorized representatives of independent software developers, consultants, and/or vendors (including Microsoft) who are at least 18 years of age, and have technical programming education and/or knowledge to create "robot" software programs for use with MSN Messenger.

The contest is expected to draw a lot of participants from the country, as it is open to all developers and not just students. The winners not only win $40,000 worth of equipment for the best BOT but will also be known to have contributed to a new feature on MSN Messenger and Windows Live Messenger.

The contest entry period is till September 15, 2006.

The participants can download three different SDKs (Software Development kits) from the Web site, build robots using the same, and register them on the site.

The three different SDKs provided by Microsoft are: the Akonix L7 Builder SDK that provides developers with the option of working with NET (C#, VB, etc), Java, or COM, each with a set of easy-to-use APIs, sample BOTs, and an IM Markup language.

The second SDK is the Incesoft Bot Platform SDK that lets developers create their own robot with their favorite developing languages, such as C#, VB.NET, and C++.

The third SDK, the Conversagent BuddyScript SDK, supports all MSN Activity features, and includes a sample activity-enabled BOT to get developers' ideas flowing.

Krishna Prasad, head - programming, MSN India, said, "The participants have to use the SDKs provided by us; any SDK can be chosen by the participant to create their robots. This contest is open to any developer and not restricted only to students or professionals alone. The participants can get all information about the contest on our Web site We have also given an option where the users can login, and vote for the best robot created and posted on 'Robot Gallery'."

The registered robots will be judged on the parameters of user interaction: 25 percent, usefulness: 25 percent, creativity: 25 percent, use of multiple Windows Live services: 25 percent.
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