The Pop Idol TV series has inspired a new competition for aspiring programmers, as £25,000 worth of prizes and a computer science scholarship at London's Queen Mary University go up for grabs.
Any UK student under 17 is eligible to enter, with the winner also guaranteed an interview for a work placement at software giant Microsoft.
The competition is split into three phases with multiple-choice questions at stage one, and 10 complex mathematical problems at stage two.
Finalists will then have to create a computer program to solve an as yet undisclosed problem.
Dr Peter McOwan, of the Department of Computer Science at Queen Mary University, confirmed that the contest was inspired by the Pop Idol series, which gave young people the chance to become pop stars.
"We wanted to give any youngster the opportunity to do a degree in computer science," he said.
"There are youngsters out there with a flair for programming but who struggle to get onto degree courses because they are not academic."
The Computer Science department at the university will provide fees and a maintenance grant for a three-year degree to the winner, with over £25,000 worth of other prizes from Microsoft and Philips Electronics.
Stuart Nielsen-Marsh, .Net academia manager at Microsoft, said in a statement: "We are delighted to support the development of talent and innovation in tomorrow's computer programmers through [this] innovative project."
The university is investing £19,000 in bursary and ongoing administration costs on the scheme, which will be extended if successful.
Wannabe contestants should click here for more details.
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