Autonomous Space Capture Challenge Opens Algorithmic Crowdsourcing to General Public
Zero Robotics from MIT, DARPA and NASA Wants Competitors to Program Satellites to Synchronize and Capture Objects in Space
GLASTONBURY, Conn., March 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — TopCoder®, Inc., the world’s largest competitive Community of digital creators and MIT, today announced registration has opened for the Autonomous Space Capture Challenge, an algorithm competition from Zero Robotics which seeks computationally efficient code solutions for a hypothetical mission scenario which models autonomous docking or satellite servicing procedures. The online challenge is open to all eligible participants but especially teams from high schools and colleges. Four winning submissions will be tested aboard the International Space Station (ISS) in the recently established SPHERES national laboratory by astronauts. Successful teams will be invited to watch the event live onsite at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology or via webcast feed remotely. Register at http://www.zerorobotics.org.
Competitors in the Autonomous Space Capture Challenge will be tasked with programming an active satellite or “Tender” to synchronize its motion with and capture a tumbling, passive space object or “POD”. The tournament will have four week-long rounds, during which teams will test their solutions and submit them for scoring and publication on the leader board. At the end of each week the best submission will be published on the Zero Robotics website for public reference and use in the next round. The winner from each week will be included in a demonstration aboard the ISS in late May with the best performing finalist being awarded an additional commendation.
- March 28 – competition begins
- April 4 – submission 1 closes
- April 11 – submission 2 closes
- April 18 – submission 3 closes
- April 25 – submission 4 closes
How to register
- Create an account at http://www.zerorobotics.org ;
- Submit an application form at http://www.zerorobotics.org/web/zero-robotics/registration/form?tournamentId=6 ;
- Follow the link in the approval email and create your team name.
“Robots are not just very cool, they represent a rapidly growing and increasingly critical field of education and business,” said Rob Hughes, president and COO of TopCoder, Inc. “From defense to manufacturing, agriculture to pharmaceutical as well as ongoing space exploration, the study and application of robotics has a very bright future.”
Sponsored by DARPA and NASA, and run by the MIT Space Systems Laboratory, TopCoder and Aurora Flight Sciences, Zero Robotics is a programming tournament that opens the SPHERES satellite research platform to the general public. Originally developed to engage U.S. middle and high school students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), Zero Robotics includes a web-based development environment to create programs for the SPHERES satellites and run simulations to evaluate resulting performance. For more information visit: http://www.zerorobotics.org.
About TopCoder, Inc.
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