Microsoft RoboChamps Competitions

Since I have already linked to my employer once today, I might as well post this too.

There is a series of challenges involving the programming of simulated robots at our RoboChamps site. Working with simulated robots should be familiar to those of us who have worked with RoboCup (or the simulated version) or TankSoar. The challenges include such tasks as navigating a maze, driving in an urban environment, sumo wrestling against another robot, and more. A soccer challenge looks to be coming soon under the name “Tournament”.

I haven’t tried any of this out yet, but it looks like fun (as a Microsoft employee I cannot compete in the contests).

The Microsoft Robotics Studio uses the .NET Framework 2.0, so you won’t have the Windows Workflow Foundation Rule Engine available (it shipped in .NET Framework 3.0). However, that shouldn’t stop you from using a rule engine if you so desire. I suspect you could try using any rule engine that can run on the .NET Framework 2.0 (or Mono 2.0). Potential choices here might include Drools.NET, ILOG Rules for .NET, NxBRE or creshendo. I’m not endorsing any specific one of these engines, so YMMV. I do get some amusement from the fact that each engine in this list was implemented in Java and then run through a Java->C# source converter. (Charles Young, if he is reading, can feel free to suggest another rule engine option that might be encumbered by licensing issues. ;-) )

One of the prizes is a KIA car (this is for the Urban challenge). In addition, the winners for some of the challenges (for example, the Sumo challenge) get to execute their code on an actual physical robot instead of the simulator.

If any reader of this posting tries this out, I would love to hear about what you end up building.

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