Local Robotics Tournament Boots-Up for Weekend Showdown

D.C. Metro Area Students to Compete in Botball(TM) 2001



Apr 17, 2001, 01:00 ET from Northern Virginia Technology Council

    FAIRFAX, Va., and NORMAN, Okla., April 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Northern
 Virginia Technology Council (NVTC) and KISS Institute for Practical Robotics
 (KISS = "Keep It Simple, Stupid!") will host the annual Botball tournament
 this Saturday, April 21, at The Patriot Center at George Mason University.
 The competition features area students from 27 middle schools and high schools
 (see list at end of release), locked in a head-to-head battle of robots, built
 and programmed by student teams.
     Proceeds from the NVTC's new non-profit foundation, The NVTC Foundation,
 helped make this year's DC regional Botball tournament possible.  NVTC is in
 its third year of sponsoring the tournament, supporting Botball by raising
 money from area businesses to defray the $2,000 cost for each team to
 participate in the tournament, and by recruiting corporate mentors to work
 with students and teachers to build the robots.
     The tournament comes seven weeks after a tutorial lead by renowned
 robotics scientist David Miller , the creator of Botball.  Miller runs Botball
 from the University of Oklahoma, where he is a robotics professor.  Botball
 gives students a special, hands-on technology education while linking them
 with local hi-tech companies.  Saturday's competition is an all day event in
 which students will put their robots to the test against other teams in a
 double-elimination format, culminating in a showdown between the two best
 teams.  In addition to the tournament, students create a Web site detailing
 their solution to the Research Design Project for which separate awards are
 distributed.
     "What makes Botball unique is that it is a full blown educational program
 designed to improve the schools on a long-term basis," said Cathryne Stein
 from KISS Institute.  "Botball begins with a three day training session for
 the teachers, and at the end of the tournament, the schools keep all the
 robotics equipment, which is reusable, and can be put to use in classroom or
 after-school activities.  I think the most important advantage to area
 businesses is that students are learning the creative side of technology in
 two major ways.  First, they have to use the C programming language in order
 to make their robots do anything at all, and second, they must use the
 Internet to do research, and then create their own website using any tools
 they want."
     The tournament is made possible by contributions from NASA's Goddard Space
 Flight Center, local businesses, and individuals who have donated a varying
 degree of time and money.  Financial contributions subsidize the $2,000
 necessary to purchase the software and robotics materials provided by KISS
 Institute.  Goddard, the Naval Research Lab, Landmark Systems Corporation and
 Raytheon also contributed volunteers to act as mentors for the teachers and
 students to guide them through the technical aspects of building and
 programming a robot.
     Botball is supported by a number of area companies and individuals
 including Vint Cerf who was dubbed "a Father of the Internet" after he helped
 develop file transfer protocol, which drives the global Internet.  Currently,
 Cerf is Senior Vice President of Internet Architecture and Technology at MCI
 WorldCom.
     Other local corporate Botball sponsors include Raytheon, EDS, Brodeur
 Worldwide, Fairfax County Public School Education Foundation,
 PricewaterhouseCoopers, The MYTA Corporation, Mitretek, Houston Associates,
 and Landmark Systems.
     The Botball tournament is open to the public at no charge, and it starts
 with Seeding Rounds at 9 a.m. Saturday.  One-on-one Double Elimination Rounds
 begin around 1:30 p.m., and will last until approximately 5:00 p.m.  For more
 information about attending the Botball tournament, log onto the KISS
 Institute's Web site (http://www.kipr.org), or the NVTC website
 (http://www.nvtc.org).  The KIPR site also includes a full list of
 participating schools.
 
     About the NVTC
     The Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC) is the voice of technology
 business, driving the success of member companies in their fields and building
 recognition of the region as a global leader in technology development and
 application.  NVTC was founded in 1991 as a membership organization
 representing the interests of the technology community in Northern Virginia.
 The council has grown to include over 1,200 member companies representing the
 diversity of the technology industry in Northern Virginia.
 
     About KISS Institute
     The KISS Institute for Practical Robotics (KIPR) is a private non-profit
 community-based organization that works with all ages to provide improved
 learning and skills development through the application of technology,
 particularly robotics.  The Institute does this primarily by providing
 supplementary, extra-curricular and professional development classes and
 activities.  KISS Institute's activities began in 1993.
 
                           Botball Tournament Schools
 
             Virginia               Maryland              Washington, DC
     (12 schools, 19 teams)  (12 schools, 19 teams)     (3 schools, 3 teams)
             Broad Run           Broadneck Senior           Wilson Senior
            High School            High School               High School
 
         Chantilly Academy       Duval High School          Jefferson Jr.
                                                            High School
 
            Flint Hill           Glen Burnie Senior         Ballou Senior
       High School (2 teams)        High School             High School
 
            Gum Springs          Holton-Arms School
        Computer Clubhouse
 
          R.E. Lee High           Lockheed Martin
          School (2 teams)        Exploring Program
 
          Rocky Run Middle      North Bethesda Middle         Tennessee
              School               School (3 teams)      (1 school, 2 teams)
 
            South Lakes            Southern High         Oliver Springs High
            High School               School              School (2 teams)
 
          Thomas Edison          Southampton Middle
       High School (3 teams)           School
 
      Thomas Jefferson High      Springbrook High
       School for Science        School (2 teams)
          & Technology (3 teams)
 
          Wakefield High           Tilden Middle
              School               School (3 Teams)
 
          West Springfield        Woodhome Middle
       High School (2 teams)          School
 
          Yorktown High         Worcester Preparatory
              School               School (2 teams)
 
      Holy Trinity Episcopal
          Middle School
 
 

SOURCE Northern Virginia Technology Council
    FAIRFAX, Va., and NORMAN, Okla., April 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Northern
 Virginia Technology Council (NVTC) and KISS Institute for Practical Robotics
 (KISS = "Keep It Simple, Stupid!") will host the annual Botball tournament
 this Saturday, April 21, at The Patriot Center at George Mason University.
 The competition features area students from 27 middle schools and high schools
 (see list at end of release), locked in a head-to-head battle of robots, built
 and programmed by student teams.
     Proceeds from the NVTC's new non-profit foundation, The NVTC Foundation,
 helped make this year's DC regional Botball tournament possible.  NVTC is in
 its third year of sponsoring the tournament, supporting Botball by raising
 money from area businesses to defray the $2,000 cost for each team to
 participate in the tournament, and by recruiting corporate mentors to work
 with students and teachers to build the robots.
     The tournament comes seven weeks after a tutorial lead by renowned
 robotics scientist David Miller , the creator of Botball.  Miller runs Botball
 from the University of Oklahoma, where he is a robotics professor.  Botball
 gives students a special, hands-on technology education while linking them
 with local hi-tech companies.  Saturday's competition is an all day event in
 which students will put their robots to the test against other teams in a
 double-elimination format, culminating in a showdown between the two best
 teams.  In addition to the tournament, students create a Web site detailing
 their solution to the Research Design Project for which separate awards are
 distributed.
     "What makes Botball unique is that it is a full blown educational program
 designed to improve the schools on a long-term basis," said Cathryne Stein
 from KISS Institute.  "Botball begins with a three day training session for
 the teachers, and at the end of the tournament, the schools keep all the
 robotics equipment, which is reusable, and can be put to use in classroom or
 after-school activities.  I think the most important advantage to area
 businesses is that students are learning the creative side of technology in
 two major ways.  First, they have to use the C programming language in order
 to make their robots do anything at all, and second, they must use the
 Internet to do research, and then create their own website using any tools
 they want."
     The tournament is made possible by contributions from NASA's Goddard Space
 Flight Center, local businesses, and individuals who have donated a varying
 degree of time and money.  Financial contributions subsidize the $2,000
 necessary to purchase the software and robotics materials provided by KISS
 Institute.  Goddard, the Naval Research Lab, Landmark Systems Corporation and
 Raytheon also contributed volunteers to act as mentors for the teachers and
 students to guide them through the technical aspects of building and
 programming a robot.
     Botball is supported by a number of area companies and individuals
 including Vint Cerf who was dubbed "a Father of the Internet" after he helped
 develop file transfer protocol, which drives the global Internet.  Currently,
 Cerf is Senior Vice President of Internet Architecture and Technology at MCI
 WorldCom.
     Other local corporate Botball sponsors include Raytheon, EDS, Brodeur
 Worldwide, Fairfax County Public School Education Foundation,
 PricewaterhouseCoopers, The MYTA Corporation, Mitretek, Houston Associates,
 and Landmark Systems.
     The Botball tournament is open to the public at no charge, and it starts
 with Seeding Rounds at 9 a.m. Saturday.  One-on-one Double Elimination Rounds
 begin around 1:30 p.m., and will last until approximately 5:00 p.m.  For more
 information about attending the Botball tournament, log onto the KISS
 Institute's Web site (http://www.kipr.org), or the NVTC website
 (http://www.nvtc.org).  The KIPR site also includes a full list of
 participating schools.
 
     About the NVTC
     The Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC) is the voice of technology
 business, driving the success of member companies in their fields and building
 recognition of the region as a global leader in technology development and
 application.  NVTC was founded in 1991 as a membership organization
 representing the interests of the technology community in Northern Virginia.
 The council has grown to include over 1,200 member companies representing the
 diversity of the technology industry in Northern Virginia.
 
     About KISS Institute
     The KISS Institute for Practical Robotics (KIPR) is a private non-profit
 community-based organization that works with all ages to provide improved
 learning and skills development through the application of technology,
 particularly robotics.  The Institute does this primarily by providing
 supplementary, extra-curricular and professional development classes and
 activities.  KISS Institute's activities began in 1993.
 
                           Botball Tournament Schools
 
             Virginia               Maryland              Washington, DC
     (12 schools, 19 teams)  (12 schools, 19 teams)     (3 schools, 3 teams)
             Broad Run           Broadneck Senior           Wilson Senior
            High School            High School               High School
 
         Chantilly Academy       Duval High School          Jefferson Jr.
                                                            High School
 
            Flint Hill           Glen Burnie Senior         Ballou Senior
       High School (2 teams)        High School             High School
 
            Gum Springs          Holton-Arms School
        Computer Clubhouse
 
          R.E. Lee High           Lockheed Martin
          School (2 teams)        Exploring Program
 
          Rocky Run Middle      North Bethesda Middle         Tennessee
              School               School (3 teams)      (1 school, 2 teams)
 
            South Lakes            Southern High         Oliver Springs High
            High School               School              School (2 teams)
 
          Thomas Edison          Southampton Middle
       High School (3 teams)           School
 
      Thomas Jefferson High      Springbrook High
       School for Science        School (2 teams)
          & Technology (3 teams)
 
          Wakefield High           Tilden Middle
              School               School (3 Teams)
 
          West Springfield        Woodhome Middle
       High School (2 teams)          School
 
          Yorktown High         Worcester Preparatory
              School               School (2 teams)
 
      Holy Trinity Episcopal
          Middle School
 
 SOURCE  Northern Virginia Technology Council