Posted by Deliverator on 29th February 2008
Most of the remaining TRC members trickled into Portland late last night and after a scant few hours of sleep everyone made an early start today. Day 2 began for me with a trip to Kinco’s with Erik Thulin so that he could print out some glossy color brochures that are being handed out as part of the TRC’s Entrepreneurship Award submission.
The TRC won its first qualifying match of the day with a score of 36 to 32. Several rules are being rigidly enforced, especially with regards to contact outside the bumper zones and movement across quarter field boundaries. Most matches are being lost due to penalties rather than being won due to points. The drive team is being very careful to try and avoid these penalties and they are speaking with alliance partners prior to the matches to try and ensure clean play. I have a feeling that the official seed rankings won’t be a very good indication of team quality this year due to the distorting effects of penalties accrued by partners, so independent scouting is going to be very important this year.
We have a large contingent of TRC members sitting in the bleachers running Stamp Scouting, which is a jointly developed, PHP based statistical scouting application. Each Stamp scout is automatically assigned a robot to watch during a given match and they input various metrics on how their respective robot performed. Over the course of the qualifying matches, Stamp outputs rigorous statistical evidence on how each team performed, as well as anecdotal notes giving us a better idea of who might make desirable alliance partners for the playoff matches.
I’ve uploaded some more pictures from yesterday’s set. More updates to come…
Update 1 – Memnosyne won its second qualifying match 26-0 and is on deck for match 3.
Update 2 – Memnosyne won its third qualifying match 48-12 and we are now off for lunch.
Update 4 – Memnosyne won its fourth qualifying match 42 to 32. Memnosyne managed to autonomously knock down one ball and cross two field markers for a big bonus, which combined with a penalty against the other alliance resulted in the win. I now have four more videos (including front and backwards facing videos of match 4) waiting for sufficient bandwidth to upload.
Update 5 – Memnosyne won its fifth and final match of the day 58 to 6! The TRC is thus far undefeated in competition with two qualifying matches left to play tomorrow! Video to come, but right now everyone wants to celebrate!
Update 6 – All the videos for today have been uploaded. There are four matches featured, with two videos for each match. One video is from a camera mounted on our flag holder, facing forward. The other video angle is facing straight backwards. Rather than link to each individually, click this link for the first video. In the screen that pops up, there will be an area to the right which displays a list of the other videos.
Update 7 – Turns out that one of the matches we played doesn’t count towards our rank. Apparently, they randomly select a team every once in a while to play as a filler bot. The results neither counts towards or against your overall rank and the official scoreboard doesn’t even note that you played an extra match, much less whether you won or lost. The apparent rationale for this system is that they have 55 teams this year and they need to have each of them have the same number of qualifying matches. The magic number of qualifying matches per team this year is 7. This was frustrating to a number of people, as even though the match doesn’t count for anything, the filler bot risks damage which could impact it in matches which do count. Also, many teams look at the rankings this evening to determine potential partners and we are ranked lower with our officially 4 and 0 record (6th of 55) even though we have played and performed well in as many matches as the teams which have officially played in 5 matches. Imo, the way to reconcile the needs of FIRST and the integrity/validity of the rankings is to ensure that all teams have played the same number of matches at the end of Friday and push any filler matches to Saturday. This might result in a few more qualifying matches being played on Saturday, but it seems a more equitable solution in my opinion. It is too late to do anything about it this year, but I plan on writing a letter to the organizing committee for next year’s tournament. The end impact to us is that we have 3 more matches to play tomorrow and a much greater chance of being knocked out of one of the top 8 “picking” seed positions.
I didn’t take nearly as many pictures today, as I was splitting time between working with the on robot video camera system and the stands and didn’t have a long and fast enough telephoto lens to really take interesting match photos. Still, what I did take today will be going into the gallery as fast as my cell phone’s EDGE connection permits.