Public Release: 

RoboCup 2001, a major international event featuring autonomous soccer-playing and rescue robots, makes US debut in Seattle, Aug. 2-10

Carnegie Mellon University

SEATTLE--RoboCup, the five-year-old international sporting and scientific event featuring autonomous soccer-playing and rescue robots of all shapes and sizes will take place in the U.S. for the first time, Aug. 2-10, in Seattle at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center http://www.robocup.org.

RoboCup 2001 will feature teams of robots ranging in size from some so small they'll compete on a ping-pong table-sized field to others the size of adult humans. They've been developed by some of the brightest minds at academic institutions around the world doing research in multi-agent and multi-robot systems.

The robots will meet on the convention floor in four different competitions, including the Simulation League, Small-size Robot League, Middle-size Robot League and the Sony Legged Robot League.

There will also be demonstrations of humanoid robots and a competition using robots to simulate a rescue mission in a real disaster scenario, like an earthquake or mudslide.

There is also RoboCup Junior, a competition designed for middle and high school students who build robots using LEGO Mindstorm kits. Held last year for the first time, this competition attracted more than 250 young people from around the world.

A key goal of the RoboCup competition is to create a team of fully autonomous soccer-playing robots that will beat the human world champion soccer team by the year 2050.

RoboCup is an international research and academic initiative founded by Hiroaki Kitano, a highly respected researcher who continues to push the boundaries of science with his exploration of artificial intelligence and intelligent robotics.

The first RoboCup competitions were held in 1997 in Nagoya, Japan, with 12 international teams participating. Other competitions have taken place in Paris, Stockholm and last year in Melbourne, Australia, where 110 teams from 19 countries took part in the largest RoboCup competition to date. RoboCup 2001 promises to be even larger. This year more than 120 teams from 25 countries are expected to participate.

In this year's tourney, which is open to the public, round robin competition takes place Aug. 4, 5 and 6. Aug 7 includes the junior competition. Aug. 8 will feature the RoboCup/AAAI robot rescue final. Quarter and semi, final competitions will take place Aug. 9, followed by a grand finale on Aug. 10, with finals, awards and ceremonies.

RoboCup 2001 worldwide sponsors are Sony Corp. and SGI. The American Association for Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) and Carnegie Mellon University are local sponsors. Carnegie Mellon has pioneered in the development of soccer-playing robots to investigate team learning for autonomous robots since 1995.

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Contacts: Anne Watzman, Carnegie Mellon, 412-268-3830, or John Watson, SGI, 650-933-1652.

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