Would like to share some experience of our's from participation in CSIDC 2005 contest. So some juniors might take some interest in this highly paying contest.
Last year, we participated in team of 4, me, Jagmohan, Visesh and Nitin Gupta. The first step is to apply as a team, they get many teams from every region so they somehow randomely select the teams which progress to the next round, We were lucky. Next was the first round, we were quite busy with certain things so the report was sent without much interest and in much hurry, as we learnt that those who don't submit the report might disqualify their college for next year. The idea of the project was basically providing some new infrastructure to support remote education.(The topic for last year was breaking the digital divide or sthg similar).
We struggled a bit to make it to the top 90 teams. We moved on to the next round, the semifinals. Here they would select the 10 teams from the 90, who would participate in finals contest in Washington. But as usual the laziness stuck us and we didn't strive hard enough for the project, we did send a final report but while sending we only regretted not working more on it. (We thought 2-3 days more of work could have made things better).
So here is my word of advice, do go through their website, http://computer.org/csidc
see last years winning entries and analyze possibility of achieving the prize winning positions. Note that reports can always be made to show that work done was great, by putting great figures, graphs tables, once you read the report and you realize the work was quite simple to do. If we can win the Mantra 2006 contest for that auto pilot vehicle, this should be reachable too and don't give up easily, for winning a great prize needs a lot of hardwork.
It might be worthy to mention in CSIDC 2004 also our college team reached the semifinals. So guys lets have our college do better this year. All the best. You can bug us to know some details if you would like.