CMU Takes RoboCup 2007 on Penalties

In a pair of matches whose excitement level had to be measured in degrees Kelvin, Carnegie Mellon University last week took home gold and bronze from the 2007 RoboCup competition in Atlanta. RoboCup, sponsored by the RoboCup Federation, is a research initiative that pits teams of robots against one another in league-based soccer matches. CMU took first and third place in the Small-Size Robot League and the Four-Legged Robot League, respectively. Both were won on penalty kicks.

The stated goal of the RoboCup initiative is to develop a team of fully autonomous robots by the year 2050 that can win against the human world champion team. At this point, the tournaments are organized into four leagues: Small-Size, Medium-Size, Four-Legged, and Humanoid. (Links at the end of this article point to video highlights of various league challenges.) There are simulation leagues and a Robot Rescue league.

In the Small-Size Robot League, the CMU team, the CMDragons, beat a dozen rivals to take the tournament for the second consecutive year. The team took the gold when it finally defeated a team from Thailand in penalty kicks following a 6-6 deadlock in regulation and overtime.

CMDash, CMU's team in the Four-Legged Robot League, took third place after beating a team from China on penalties. The teams had been in a 3-3 deadlock at the end of regulation and overtime.

Carnegie Mellon was one of two American universities to place in the overall top-3 for the leagues in which it competed. The other was Bowdoin College in Maine, whose team, Northern Bites, took first place in the Four-Legged Robot League.

In other results, Germany and Japan owned the Humanoid League and the Middle Size Robot League. Osaka University took first place in the Humanoid League, with the University of Freiburg taking second and third. The University of Osnabruek took gold in the Middle-Size Robot League, with Keio University (Japan) and the University of Stuttgart taking second and third, respectively. University of Newcastle, Australia, took second in the Four-Legged competition. In the Small-Size Robot League, Chulalongkorn University (Thailand) took second, with Aichi Prefectural University (Japan) rounding out the top-3.

In total, there were some 1,700 participants on 321 teams representing almost 40 countries in RoboCup 2007. This year's competition was held at Georgia Tech, marking the first time since 2001 the competition has been held on a university campus. It moves to Suzhou, China next year.

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About the Author

David Nagel is editorial director, education for 1105 Media's Public Sector Media Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal. A 22-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at or follow him on Twitter at @THEJournalDave (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education).


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