From email@example.com Thu May 8 16:14:54 1997 To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Update to "Find Life on Mars" Rules cc: reids@CS.cmu.edu, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com From: Reid Simmons <reids+@CS.cmu.edu> Date: Thu, 08 May 1997 15:51:21 -0400 Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Sender: email@example.com Precedence: bulk Status: RO
I've received two questions about the "Find Life on Mars" event (in fact, the only two I've received since posting the "final" draft of the rules). These have prompted a small change in the rules. The newest draft is included, below. Changes from the last draft are on lines marked with "**". Basically, we have added details about how the doors to the pen will look, and have changed the penalty for supplying your own doors (was 100 point penalty for marking your own doors, now 50 point penalty for marking your own doors, or replacing them with another design). If there are further questions on this, or other, matters, please do not hesitate to speak up...
Reid ================================================================ AAAI-97 Mobile Robot Competition Event 1 "Find Life on Mars" May 8, 1997 Comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
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 approximately 1000 square feet in area (either rectangular or hexagonal), with lexan walls delimiting the boundaries (assume the robot landed in a crater). The floor of the arena will be littered with a variety of small objects. The "past life-forms" will be stationary spheres and cubes, about the size and weight of tennis balls. Currently, we anticipate having three or four different colors for each shape. The "current life-forms" will be squiggle balls (they will all be the same color). The rocks will all be larger than the other objects -- at this time, we expect they will be real rocks.
In about the center of the arena will be a small enclosed pen with two openings (the "lander"). The pen will be a square 1-2 meters in length and width, will have lexan or cardboard walls, and the openings will be about 0.5 meters wide. The openings of the pen will have small lips (~ 5 cm) to prevent ** the squiggle balls from escaping. The doors will be hinged at the top. One ** will be colored blue and the other will be red.
The robots will start adjacent to the pen. The objective is for them 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, ** the opening of the pen with the blue door is for squiggle balls, the red ** door is for all the different colored objects). Penalties are given for mixing mobile and non-mobile objects in the pen, and for putting any of the rocks in the pen. Penalties are also given for colliding with any of the rocks (the Mars rover is fragile!)
Before the contest begins, hand-drawn 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. You can enter the map information into the robots in whatever way you want.
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. If possible, we will choose a color that will enable robots with only b/w vision to distinguish danger zones from the exhibition hall floor.
There will be several categories of robot entries. There will be separate categories (with separate awards) for single robot and multi-robot teams (depending on the number of entries, we may further subdivide multi-robot teams into 2-3 robot teams and teams of 4 or more robots). An overall winner from the single and multi-robot entries will be determined by dividing a team's total score by the number of robots in the team.
There is also a separate category for robots without manipulators. Such entries will have to get within 6 inches of an object, indicate somehow that they have spotted the object, and indicate its classification (e.g., using speech). The robot must then pause for at least five seconds (to give humans a chance to remove the object from the arena). In addition, in the non-manipulator category robots do not actually have to return the objects to the lander.
There will be multiple trials, with each trial running for a predetermined length (5-10 minutes). 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). Points and penalties will be given as described below.
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". And, obviously, no additional points will be given for picking up the same object more than once in the same trial.
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 (see below).
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 may be changed are: number of different colored objects (some trials may have fewer different colors); density of rocks; density of "life-forms"; accuracy of the apriori 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.
The point/penalty values listed below are our current thoughts on how the event will be scored. The point/penalty values may be refined over the coming months (and may, in fact, change from trial to trial). We encourage feedback on whether the scoring is deemed "fair".
20 points for picking up the first of a given type of colored object ("past life-form").
10 points for picking up subsequent objects a given type (may change between trials).
50 points for picking up the first squiggle ball ("present life-form").
40 points for picking up subsequent squiggle balls a given type (may change between trials).
50 points for placing the first of a given object or squiggle ball in the pen ("lander").
30 points for placing subsequent objects in the pen (may change between trials).
20 points deducted for placing an object in the wrong door of the pen.
40 points deducted for placing a rock-like object in the pen.
5 points deducted for colliding with a rock-like object.
50 points deducted for traveling within a danger zone.
200 points deducted for actively marking the pen and/or the openings of the pen with beacons.
** 50 points deducted for supplying your own doors to the pen (different ** design and/or different colors) .
50 points deducted for breaking a squiggle ball (remember the Prime Directive!)
NOTE: For practicing, squiggle balls can be purchased from The Scientific Revolution at 415-322-1876 or at your local scientific or toy stores. We will supply all objects used in the actual competition.