Students to test who's got the smartest artificial intelligence at Saturday event
Jan 19, 2013 (York Daily Record - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
See how it turned out Saturday.
YORK, Pa. --
More than 350 middle- and high-school students from at least five states, including Pennsylvania, will gather at Penn State York Saturday to put their artificial intelligence to work.
"It's the most amazing thing you've ever witnessed in your life," said Marshall F. Coyle, associate professor of engineering, of the quality of competition at the annual robotics challenge hosted by the college.
This is the third year the competition, the FIRST Tech Challenge, has been held at Penn State York. Saturday's contest is the South Central Pennsylvania Regional Qualifier, the winners of which will
go on to compete in the state championship. A world championship will be held in St. Louis.
The contest pits robotics teams comprised of up to 10 students against one another. This year, teams from across Pennsylvania -- including one named Sonoma Academy from here in York -- New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland are competing. Coyle said the contest always involves some type of game using the robots each team has made. Last year it was a version of bowling and this year it's a complex version of tic-tac-toe called "Ring It Up," he said.
Barbara H. Dennis, coordinator of publications and promotions at Penn State York, said the students want to win, but the focus is on "gracious professionalism."
"Teams that want to win, they're socializing, talking to one another, helping one another," Dennis said.
Coyle referenced a team from Phoenixville, Pa., in Chester County, helping a team from York two years ago.
The team from York brought a robot that hadn't been programmed to the competition. "And the team from Phoenixville helped them. They typed in some code and made their robot work," he said.
Coyle said the students who are competing are the people who will be solving our country's problems tomorrow.
"It gives me a comfortable feeling knowing these kids are going to be out there down the road solving the nation's problems, making more efficient cars, fixing oil wells in the ocean that are leaking," or maybe sending robots into space, he said.
Coyle and Dennis agreed the competition is also good for the future of Penn State York.
"We're hoping some of these people will say 'Hey, Penn State York, maybe we'll go there are start our engineering program there.'"
If you go
The robotics competition, "Ring It Up," is free for the public to attend and watch. It will be held in the Joe and Rosie Ruhl Student Community Center at the Penn State York Campus. Opening ceremonies are at 10 a.m., followed by competition throughout the day until 4:30 p.m.
Get involved with robotics
Marshall F. Coyle, associate professor of engineering at Penn State York, said there are a lot of robotics teams in the Philadelphia area. He wants to see the interest grow in York County. To learn more about robotics or to find a group in your area, visit www.usfirst.org.
You can also watch a video of the game students will be playing during today's competition at Penn State York by visiting www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/ftc/game.
@I_M_BrandieK ; 771-2035
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