FAQs

This FAQ is updated with questions from faculty and students that attend the Cornell Cup USA presented by Intel live online questions/answer sessions. Please look through the questions below and check out the next live online information session.

How will I receive the initial funding?
Approximately two (2) weeks after we have received the emailed copy of your university’s W-9 form, a check that has been made out to your university will be sent via mail c/o your advisor at your advisor’s address that you’ve provided on your pledge form.

Is Cornell entering the contest?
In order to demonstrate their devotion to creating as fair of a competition as possible, Cornell will not be entering the competition this year.

Is there a limit to the funds that can be used on the project?
No. You are welcome to do as much fund-raising as you would like towards the support of your project and team. However, spending the most will not ensure a good entry. If you spent a lot on your project, you should have a very good reason as to why you needed to spend a lot. The best projects are the ones who make the best use of their time and resources to meet a specific need.

I’m a PhD student. Can I still be part of a team?
Well, no and yes. While you can’t be a student team member you can be one of the team’s advisors. However there must be a faculty member from your university that is the main advisor.

I’m a faculty member. Can I advise more than one team?
Yes you can. And as all application reviews are done blind, it is possible that all of your teams could be accepted. However any individual student can only be on a single team.

What is the Intel Atom board for this year's competition?
The Intel-Cornell Cup will be featuring the Intel Atom board for the 2014-15 competition. All teams selected as finalists will receive two of these boards for free. For more information on these boards please check out the resources page in the “Team Info” section of this web site.

What is the best way to start learning about the Altera FPGA on the Intel Atom boards for this year’s competition?
One of the best ways to start learning is to visit http://www.altera.com/education/univ/materials/digital_logic/tutorials/unv-tutorials.html and http://www.altera.com/education/univ/materials/digital_logic/labs/unv-labs.html. Via a link on the latter web site, faculty advisors can also request solutions to the exercises.

Can we submit our final report in something other than MS Word?
Using MS Word allows the judges to easily make comments and pass the submissions between each other for review; hence the use of MS Word is required. There are a few supporting documents, such as your timeline, which can be in other formats as is specified in the official rules.

Can we have an extension on submitting a final report, etc.?
In the spirit of fairness, we cannot offer any extensions. As listed in the rules, late final reports will be “significantly penalized for every day that it is late” as additional time could cause a significant advantage.

The competition submission dates are chosen to be as late as possible but still allow the judges sufficient time to review the submissions (although it still often leads to many late nights for the judges).

I’m currently doing a project for a course (or senior capstone project or M.Eng. project). Can I use that same project as an entry into this competition?
Yes, absolutely! This competition was actually designed to try to work within college course and projects. Many colleges have also incorporated the competition’s educational guides and even project design goals into their own curriculum. However your competition entry can also be a completely independent effort with your academic adviser as well.

The only qualification is that your entry will be judged upon the work that you and your team accomplishes this year. You can build off of past work, but in the spirit of fairness, you cannot submit work that was done previously, say for a past course or past competition, and claim it as new work that was done for this year’s competition. You are responsible for distinguishing the new work versus the past work for the judges in your entries. If the distinction is not clear you may not receive credit for the new work or in extreme cases may be penalized for attempting to showcase past work as new work.

Can I build off a past project for my entry into the competition?
Yes, you can build off of past work. However, in the spirit of fairness, you cannot submit work that was done previously, say for a past course or past competition, and claim it as new work that was done for this year’s competition. Your entry will be judged upon the work that you and your team is doing this year and this year only. You are responsible for distinguishing the new work versus the past work for the judges in your entries. If the distinction is not clear you may not receive credit for the new work or in extreme cases may be penalized for attempting to showcase past work as new work.

Are foreign students allowed to enter the competition?
Foreign students are allowed so long as they are full-time undergraduate or Master’s of Engineering students in an accredited U.S. college program. Please see the rules for more details.

How are the dates for the competition set?
After reviewing numerous colleges’ academic calendars from across the country, it was found that this time was the least conflicting for the vast majority of schools being just after the last wave of Spring Break periods and just before the first major wave of finals and graduations (many schools that have spring break in April, have finals and graduate in June, and many schools that have spring break in March, have finals and graduate in mid to late May). There was one brief time window in the very beginning of May that resulted in the fewest conflicts by far which is when we hold this competition.

It was also luckily found that this time also coincides with one of the cheapest travel time periods between the months of March and August. It is just after the end of the college spring break time period and Easter holiday travel period, and it is just before the end of classes when some schools begin to let out and the Memorial Day & summer travel period. It is estimated that shifting the competition by even one week either way could result in an increase in travel costs of up to 40% for participant teams, independent of the venue location.

Help! We have a question regarding our provided Intel Atom boards?
Finalist teams have access to the Intel QuAD request system; a premier technical support service normally only offered to Intel’s top customers. The team lead of every finalist team will be given a special account for this service. For more information, team leads should look for an email sent to them regarding how to use their account (it cannot be posted online as it really is a special premier service).

Help! We have a question regarding our provided materials from other sponsors?
Each sponsor has designated a main contact for the distribution of their materials. For legal reasons, the materials are given directly to the finalist team’s adviser. Please contact your adviser for this information as it is typically different for each region of the country or even each school. If you still cannot find the proper contact, please email cornellcupusa@cornell.edu for but please allow for a few extra days as we find the proper contact.