From email@example.com Fri Feb 14 06:38:18 1997 Date: Fri, 14 Feb 1997 06:13:22 -0500 (EST) From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ronald Arkin) Message-Id: <199702141113.GAA08565@arkin.cc.gatech.edu> To: email@example.com Subject: Complete Rules for Find Life on Mars Event Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: email@example.com Precedence: bulk Status: RO
Attached below are the complete rules for the find-life-on-mars event. Anyone who is interested in competing in this event and has questions regarding the rules should contact Reid Simmons (firstname.lastname@example.org) for clarification.
N.B. These are not the absolute final rules. Competitors will have one month to bring up issues with the rule committee prior to their solidification.
================================================================ AAAI-97 Mobile Robot Competition Event 1 Draft of February 13, 1997 Comments to email@example.com
Event 1: Find life on Mars
Mission Objectives ==================
This task is inspired by the upcoming Pathfinder Mission to Mars, as well as the tantalizing (albeit limited) possibility of life on Mars as depicted by the recent meteorite analysis. Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to explore a large area of Mars, looking for signs of past and current life, and return the life-forms, and only those life-forms, to the lander for further analysis. From satellite imagery, we have some clues as to where life may exist, but it is up to you to make a thorough exploration before your batteries run dead.
Event Specifics ===============
The robot will be placed in a large physically bounded area. The arena will be several hundred square feet (approximately 30x40'), with lexan walls delimiting the boundaries (the robot landed in a crater). In about the center of the arena will be a small enclosed pen with two openings (the "lander"). The floor of the arena will be littered with a variety of small objects: both small and large (> 20cm in height) rock-like objects (distinguished by their shape and color), different colored and shaped immobile objects ("past life-forms") and a few squiggle balls ("present life-forms"). The openings of the pen will have small lips (size TBD) to prevent the squiggle balls from escaping. Currently, we anticipate two types of immobile objects (spheres and cubes), with five different colors for each shape.
The robot will start adjacent to the pen. The objective is for it to collect as many of the colored objects and squiggle balls in the given time (5-10 minutes), and deposit them in the pen, sorted by mobility (that is, one door of the pen is for squiggle balls, the other is for all the different colored objects). Penalties are given for mixing mobile and non-mobile objects in the pen, and for putting the rock-like objects in the pen. Penalties are also given for colliding with any of the large rock-like objects (the Mars rover is fragile!)
Teams of multiple robots may enter the contest, but the overall score will be divided by the total number of the robots used in the contest. This normalization will hopefully prevent teams from doing well simply by having swarms of robots. The idea is to have teams demonstrate that multiple robots actually have a super-linear scaling effect on task performance.
Before the contest begins, maps will be provided showing where certain colored objects and large rock-like objects *may* be located. These maps, which are not guaranteed to be totally accurate, may be used by the robots to help them decide where to explore. The intention is to structure the event so that it would be difficult for an entry to explore the whole arena in the time allotted (for example, each trial may decrease the length of the event).
In addition, certain areas of the arena will be "danger zones", where travel within the zone will add penalty points. The danger zones will be marked by laying colored paper on the floor (exact color TBD, depending on the natural color of the exhibition hall floor), and also by marking the location within the map.
Each trial will run for a predetermined length (5-10 minutes). Points and penalties will be given as described below. Team score will be divided by the number of robots in the team.
There will be separate categories for robots with and without manipulators, each with separate awards. Robots without manipulators will have to either touch, or get within a predetermined distance (say, 6 inches) of an object, and announce that they have spotted that type of object. In the non-manipulator category, robots do not actually have to return the objects to the lander. Let us know whether you feel that the robots should actually have to touch the objects.
In all trials, points will be awarded for the *first* object of a given shape/color, and then a different (typically smaller, but it may be the same) number of points will be awarded for each subsequent object of that particular shape/color. This is to encourage robots to find a diversity of "life-forms".
No modifications to the "Martian" environment will be allowed (rock-like objects, "life-forms", danger zones, surrounding walls), although modifications to the "lander" itself will be allowed for penalty points.
Several trials will be held, of increasing difficulty. The task itself will not change between trials, only the complexity of the environment (and one aspect of scoring). The parameters of the environment that can change are: number of different colored objects (some trials may have fewer different colors); density of rocks; density of "life-forms"; accuracy of the a priori map; placement of objects (e.g., certain objects may be surrounded on three sides by rocks and/or danger zones to make it harder to get at them). Another parameter that may be altered is the ratio between the number of points awarded for the first object of a given type, and the subsequent ones. Probably, the points will be equal for the first trial, but for other trials the first object will be worth significantly more points.
Note that we will not alter all the above parameters, and certainly not all at once. We will decide which parameters to alter based on the feedback we get, if any, over the months leading up to the competition and how well teams are doing during the competition itself.
Teams will start out with 500 points. For each point/penalty category list below, the number in [brackets] is a first guess at the point value, but this will be undoubtedly refined over the coming months (and may, in fact, change from trial to trial). We encourage feedback on whether the scoring is deemed "fair".
TBD number of points  for picking up the first of a given type of colored object ("past life-form")
TBD number of points  for picking up subsequent objects a given type.
TBD number of points  for picking up the first squiggle ball ("present life-form")
TBD number of points  for picking up subsequent squiggle balls a given type
TBD number of points  for placing the first of a given type of colored object in the pen ("lander")
TBD number of points  for placing subsequent objects in the pen
TBD number of points  for placing the first squiggle ball in the pen
TBD number of points  for placing subsequent squiggle balls in the pen
TBD penalty points  for placing an object in the wrong door of the pen
TBD penalty points  for placing a rock-like object in the pen
TBD penalty points  for colliding with a large rock-like object
TBD penalty points  for traveling within a danger zone
TBD penalty points  for passively marking the pen and/or the openings of the pen
TBD penalty points  for actively marking the pen and/or the openings of the pen with beacons
TBD penalty points  for supplying your own doors to the pen
TBD penalty points  for breaking a squiggle ball (remember the Prime Directive!)
NOTE: Squiggle balls can be purchased from The Scientific Revolution at 415-322-1876 or at your local scientific or toy stores.