Graceland's Robot Team Wins at MICS'04

On April 16-17, a group of Graceland's computer science and information technology students traveled to the 37th Annual Midwest Instruction and Computing Symposium (MICS'04) to attend paper presentations by students and faculty throughout the Midwest and to compete in the computer programming contest and robot competition.

The robot team, headed by Dritan Zhuja and assisted by Aaron Twombly, took first place. They used a LEGO Mindstorms programmable robot that was programmed in the JAVA language. The robot had to begin at a starting point on a grid marked by black tape on the floor, travel to a goal location on the grid, and return to its starting point, playing tunes to indicate that it knew when it reached its goal and return points. The judges placed obstacles on the grid prior to each run to create a simple maze. There were seven entries, but only two were able to complete the task in a 15 minute deadline. Several hundred onlookers gathered around the main floor or along the second floor mezzanine rails to catch a glimpse. The Graceland robot traveled its maze in 1 minute and 26 seconds, beating the second place team from the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University by 10 seconds. It also won in a later head-to-head challenge on a more complicated maze.

Graceland also had a team for the programming competition, consisting of Anuj Rajbhandari, James Christofis, and Deepak Ghimire. Like most schools in the competition they did not complete any of the assigned problems in the three hour time, but they learned some lessons for next time.

Other students attending the conference were Jesse Cash, Alex Cernau, Kacey Larson, Hava Maloku, and Lora Toncheva. Bob Farnham and Jim Jones were the faculty sponsors. The group also attended the 2004 Human Computer Interaction Forum, hosted by Iowa State University's Virtual Reality Applications Center (VRAC) on Thursday, April 15, since that was conveniently on the way to MICS. Leona Dorothy joined the group for this. Expenses for this trip were paid by the Ackerley Computer Science and Technology Scholars Program at Graceland. The Ackerley Scholars (Cash, Dorothy, Rajbhandari, Twombly, Zhuja) all assisted the Ackerley Scholars Program Director, Jim Jones, in planning this trip and making it a success.

In Lamoni Chronicle, 4/30/04
Note: UNI was incorrectly named the 2nd place team in the article, but corrected above

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