I recently found out about the RoboCup and that Mathworks was contributing to this program. I wanted to find out more and I am sure that this is something that many of you would be interested in as well. The main focus of the RoboCup competitions is the game of football/soccer, where the research goals concern cooperative multi-robot and multi-agent systems in dynamic adversarial environments. All robots in this league are fully autonomous. But it is not just about fun and games. Disaster rescue is one of the most serious social issues which involves very large numbers of heterogeneous agents in the hostile environment. Tom Gaudette, MathWorks’ principal academic evangelist, gave me a little more information about their involvement with this competition.
How are competitions like RoboCup advancing students’ real-world engineering skills?
Student competitions bridge classroom theory with hands-on learning of industry practices and technologies. The fun and competitive approach provides students with the opportunity to solve real-world engineering problems while further developing skills in collaboration, time management, and leadership.
How is Model-Based Design playing a part in this competition?
Model-Based Design helps competitors create and test their complex systems faster and validate controls across multiple levels. Students can simulate and verify designs, create virtual prototypes, and generate production code before trying it out in the arena.
What value does MathWorks see in competitions like RoboCup?
MathWorks is offering all competing teams access to its software, as well as organizing training workshops both prior to and during the event.
MathWorks finds value in stimulating our next generation to become interested in technology. The company looks to accelerate the pace of science and actively supports a variety of global and local student competitions, including EcoCAR2, Formula Student Germany, AUVSI RoboBoat and RoboSub, and EducEco. These competitions focus on giving students first-hand experience in collaborating with a team to use tools such as MATLAB and Simulink to create solutions to specific, real-world problems.
How is the competition set up to allow students to successfully create a robot?
RoboCup teams compete across nine different leagues to create and program robots able to meet a variety of challenges, from helping with domestic chores to assisting emergency responders. The centerpiece of RoboCup is the RoboCup Soccer tournament, where the aim is to create teams of fully autonomous, cooperative robots that exhibit advanced competitive behaviors and strategies.
What sets RoboCup apart from other student/robotics competitions?
RoboCup’s stated mission is to field a team of humanoid robots capable of winning against their human World Cup counterparts by 2050. This long term mission includes many leagues of varying levels. This enables students to participate for many years and allows students to truly understand how to build robots.
What is a professor’s perspective on why students participate and the value of the competition?
While not a professor, I regularly communicate with professors at universities around the world. And the feedback I receive is that student competitions such as RoboCup are a way to bring science to life, and an important vehicle to educate the engineers of tomorrow. Project-based learning initiatives such as RoboCup give the next generation of engineers and scientists hands-on experience using industry-standard tools. It helps them to be better prepared for their future careers.
RoboCup will be taking place in Eindhoven starting in just a few days (June 26th
) and you can find out more about this competition, and follow its progress at http://www.robocup.org/Brian Bailey
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