Volume 95, Issue 81

Thursday, March 7, 2002
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USC and admin in soph bed battle

Ed. students denied class placements

In lieu of cock fighting, nerds turn to robot wars

Budget 2002/2003 -
USC targets $900k debt

USC Budget 2002/2003

Western left in the dark

Syphilis - Napoleon had it, now you can too

Cal-Berkeley sex classes included orgies

Globe's Gray talks journalism

In lieu of cock fighting,
nerds turn to robot wars

By Erin Conway-Smith
Gazette Staff

In the opening stage of last night's Robotic Olympiad, teams of students dressed in matching t-shirts methodically assembled multicoloured Lego pieces on the packed floor of The Wave.

Organized by computer science lecturer Keith Edwards, the first-ever event was part of an assignment for a third-year computer science project management class.

Eighty students divided into nine teams spent a month designing robots based on Lego Mindstorm kits provided by the computer science department.

The purposed of the assignment was to practice team building skills within a competitive environment, Edwards said. "I love to have dynamic, creative exercises for my students."

Skills in real time programming, engineering design and robotics – with added infusions of creativity and team spirit – were required for the assignment, Edwards said.

"Part of a university education is getting students to think creatively – this type of exercise allows them to step outside the box," he said.

The team with the most total points after various competition components – including a robot talent show, obstacle course and robot wrestling – would receive a trophy and top assignment marks.

One of the toy-like robots, built by a team called 'The Great Ones,' displayed the ability to shoot a small hockey puck into a net while playing the 'Hockey Night in Canada' theme song.

"We are 'The Great Ones' because we are not going to lose," said team member Ali Sayrafi, a fourth-year computer science student.

Sayrafi said preparing for the Robotic Olympiad was a fun and challenging experience and added he was most looking forward to the robot wrestling event.

A team called the 'Ragin' Bulls' sported matching t-shirts and displayed a helicopter propeller they had constructed for their robot.

"We tried to make something unique," said Nelson Liao, a third-year computer science student and team member.

The Robotic Olympiad was a fun and dynamic way to learn how to work as a group, he added.

Another robot drew a maple leaf while "singing" the national anthem for the talent portion of the competition.

Final results of the Robotic Olympiad were not available when The Gazette went to print.

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