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RoboCup: a.k.a Robots Can Play Soccer!

CS199r, Spring 2009: Special Topics in Computer Science

Building autonomous robotic systems requires understanding how to make robots that observe, reason, act, and cooperate. It also requires fusing knowledge from many different disciplines: mechanical, electrical and computer science. To advance research in artificial intelligence and robotics, the International Robocup Competition was started in 1994. The grand challenge is to create an autonomous robot team that can defeat the WorldCup human team in 2050. To tackle this multi-faceted problem, there are several leagues that focus on different aspects of the problem. The small-size league focuses on robust robot design (teams design and build their own robots) and multi-robot control/cooperation in highly dynamic environments. What makes RoboCup most exciting is that once the game starts, the robots must make decisions themselves - the humans who programmed the teams do not control them.

The CS199r special topics class for 2009 was a project-based course around autonomous robot soccer. The objective of the class is to get hands-on experience in the design and execution of an engineering project, that combines significant CS sophistication with the uncertainty and complexity of hardware operating in the real world.. And to have fun learning. The students worked on all aspects, from low-level control (wheels, radio, vision, motion planning) to high-level intelligence (how to program a effective strategy for soccer).

U.S. Open Small-size Robot Soccer Competition, Harvard, May 2009

At the end of the class, we hosted the U.S. Open Small-size Robot Soccer Competition at the Hilles Penthouse (Radcliffe Quad, May8-10th, 2009). We had three visiting teams: Carnegie Mellon University, Georgia Tech and the new team from University of Rochestor. The event was organized by the Harvard College Engineering Society (HCES) and the Harvard-MIT Robot Soccer Team (RFC Cambridge). The games attracted a large number of young spectators who asked many questions and made many suggestions on how to play better!

CS199r Course Website
CS199r Class PhotoAlbum and U.S. Open RoboCup PhotoAlbum

Movies from U.S. Open Small-size Robocup games:
Highlights of all Games; Some fun before the games; Gatech sings the rambling wreck

Related Links


CS199r: John Bestoso, Siddarth Chadrasekharan, Alex Chang, Richard Gong, Svilen Kanev, Joshua Montana, David Robinson, Mark VanMiddlesworth, Andrew Wong, Radhika Nagpal (lecturer), Kyle Lawton (TF), Alexei Colin (TF), Geneva Trotter (TF).

We were also assisted by many RFC members and Harvard SEAS folks in hosting the Robocup event.


Many Thanks to our Sponsors!
Harvard SEAS and MIT Edgerton Center
Microsoft iCampus, Google, and many others.