June 25, 2002

Cornell's Big Red scores robot soccer victory over Germany in Japan by stopping Berlin university team, 7-3, in world finals

ITHACA, N.Y. -- If you are still sore about last week's United States quarterfinal loss to Germany in World Cup soccer in South Korea, don't be. On Sunday (June 23) on behalf of Americans everywhere, Cornell University students got revenge.

The Cornell Big Red team, at right, celebrates a goal by its robot soccer players in Sunday's RoboCup championship match against the Freie Universität (FU) Fighters from Berlin. The Cornell team on 7-3 at the competition in Fukuoka, Japan. Courtesy of SGI.

Cornell's Big Red team beat the Freie Universität (FU) Fighters of Berlin, 7-3, at the 2002 RoboCup small-size robot soccer league championship in Fukuoka, Japan. This is Cornell's third championship win in four years.

On its way to this year's small-size robot title, Cornell routed the University of Melbourne, Australia, 10-0, in the RoboCup semifinals June 22. FU Fighters beat Ngee Ann Polytechnic Luckystar, of Singapore, 3-2.

In Sweden in 1999, Cornell entered the competition for the first time, and Big Red won its first RoboCup championship by beating Freie Universität, 15-0, in a finals match broadcast live on Swedish national television. The following year, Cornell again beat the FU Fighters. Last year, Cornell lost to the Singapore Polytechnic Field Rangers and earned a third-place finish.

The event, officially called the Robot World Cup Initiative, but familiarly known as RoboCup, pits about 190 universities and technical schools with teams of tiny but incredibly smart robots. The competitors come from all over the world. RoboCup was created to foster research in robotics and artificial intelligence. Competitors must design robots that will operate as a team as well as build vision systems to enable the robots to detect the ball and distinguish between their own players and their opponents. The robots must also be able to decide on the best moves to put the ball into the other team's goal.

A team consists of five robots, communicating with a "mother" computer and with each other by radio. A video camera surveying the playing field tells the central computer where the players and the ball -- a golf ball -- are located. Individual robots also can have on-board sensors. Once programmed, the robotic system is completely on its own, with no human remote control. The Big Red team's faculty adviser is Raffaello D'Andrea, Cornell associate professor of engineering.

The human members of Cornell's world champion team are:

Computer Algorithms: Michael Babish, Joseph Cappelluti, Joel Chestnutt, Andrew Chung, Evan Kuhn, Akosua Prakah Kyereme-Tuah, Chee Yong Lee, Nirav Shah, Christian Siagian, Joran Siu, Will Stokes, Zennard Sun*, Ying Yu Tan*, Justin V. Wick, David Wu, Remik Ziemlinski.

Electrical Design:, Aman Chawla*, Tom (Liang-Yu) Chi, Wajih Effendi, Michael Jordan, Sinman Katherine Ko, Shahab Ahmed Najmi. Chirag M. Patel*, Michael Schwaller.

Mechanical Design, Akbar Dhanaliwala, Sewan Kim, Jie Dong Leou, Jeremy Miller, Brett Nadler, Eryk Brian Nice, Sean R. Richardso, Ken Sterk, Kenneth Kwok Wei Chan, Eng Beng Toh.

Dynamics, Systems and Control:, Raffaello D'Andrea, Myungsoo Jun, Jin-Woo Lee, Evan Malone, Tamás Kalmár-Nagy.

In human World Cup soccer, Cornellian Bruce Arena '73 served as the U.S. soccer team coach and Dave Sarachan '76 was the assistant coach.

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