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Acknowledging Romanian students’ performance

Globalworth is proud to have recently made awards to the Romanian students who won second 2 place at MIT's Zero Robotics High School Tournament 2017. On 30th of January, at “Banat National College's Gala of Excellence” in Timisoara, a regional event that acknowledges those students who have achieved excellent results, Globalworth awarded each of the Romanian winners with a latest generation, fully equipped laptop.

Sigma Six is the name of the team formed by Andra Diana Maglas, Leo Han, Alex Jieanu, Popa Haralambie and Stefan Malanik, five students from “Banat National College (Timisoara) who made it to the final of the ninth edition of MIT's Zero Robotics High School Tournament 2017.

At Globalworth we believe in our responsibility to encourage young talented people and support their dreams. This is the reason why, this year, the company has chosen to reward the Romanian students’ performance at MIT's Zero Robotics High School Tournament 2017.

What happened in Zero Robotics 2017’s final ...

Along with their teammates from OverExtendedProgramming (United States) and AGNELLITRONICS (Italy), and with the support of Mrs Monica Branga, their dedicated Informatics teacher who guided them throughout the entire competition (September - December), these Romanian students won second place in the virtual competition.

Generally, the challenge is motivated by a current problem of interest to DARPA (The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) and MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). The 2017 game, LIFE SPHERES, challenged student teams to write code to control the SPHERES satellites in the search for life on Enceladus, a moon of Saturn, by drilling into the icy surface, avoiding geysers and returning samples to a base station for analysis. It is first time in the history of this competition that students got to see how their code actually works in conditions of imponderability. This is quite an amazing and unique opportunity given to students from all around the globe. In previous years, the games only took place virtually on MIT’s online platform.

On January 11, 2018, over 600 students from all over the world, gathered at MIT, Politecnico di Torino, and U Sydney to watch cosmonaut Alexander “Sasha” Misurkin and astronaut Joe Acaba referee the final competition of the Zero Robotics High School Tournament 2017 aboard the International Space Station. The live broadcast featured presentations by former NASA Astronaut Steve Swanson and Cassini/Hugyens scientists Jean-Pierre Lebreton (ESA) and Ralph D. Lorenz (John Hopkins APL). You can watch the competiton recording, here.

It is also worth mentioning that 8 Romanian teams entered MIT's Zero Robotics High School Tournament 2017, yet only four of them, Sigma Six (Banat National College, Timisoara), CodeWarriors (Romania), Cassiopeia (Romania), HORIZON (Romania) made it to the two finals. Congratulations to all of them!

About Zero Robotics High School Tournament 2017

Zero Robotics is a robotics programming competition where the robots are SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold Engage and Reorient Experimental Satellites) inside the International Space Station (ISS). The competition starts online, on the ZeroRobotics website, where teams program the SPHERES to solve an annual challenge. After several phases of virtual competition in a simulation environment that mimics the real SPHERES, finalists are selected to compete in a live championship aboard the ISS. The ultimate goal is to build critical engineering skills for students, such as problem solving, design thought process, operations training, and teamwork.

This tournament addresses students in grades 9-12 and takes place from September to December each year. This is an international event open to all teams from the United States, Russia, Australia and member states of the European Space Agency (ESA).

Such a tournament opens the world-class research facilities on the International Space Station (ISS) to high school students who compete to win a technically challenging game by programming their strategies into the SPHERES satellites. Student software controls satellite speed, rotation, direction of travel, etc. Depending on the game premise, the students must program their satellites to complete game objectives (navigate obstacles, pick up virtual objects, etc.) while conserving resources (fuel, charge, etc.) and staying within specified time and code-size limits. The programs are "autonomous" - that is, the students cannot control the satellites during the test itself.

The 2017 tournament started with simulations in phases from 2D to 3D, gradually increasing in difficulty. After elimination rounds, the finalists got to see their code run in the SPHERES satellites aboard the International Space Station with live transmission from space. The finals took place simultaneously at MIT, at an ESA site in Europe, at the University of Sydney in Australia and were broadcasted live to all participants for remote viewing.