Prepare

Prepare for the
Physical Competition
Selected teams get 3 Swarmie Robots, a $1,000 faculty member stipend, and opportunity to compete at NASA Kennedy Space Center. Read details below
Prepare for the
Virtual Competition
Selected teams get a $500 faculty stipend and chance to compete by uploading code to a simulation. Virtual contest winners will be announced during the physical competition at NASA Kennedy Space Center.
Read details below

Check out the FAQs and Rules for additional info.

Entering the Swarmathon Competition
The NASA Swarmathon is open to Minority Serving Universities and Community Colleges located in the United States. The  Swarmathon includes two competition categories:

Swarmie Closeup21) A physical competition focused on integrating swarm algorithms with existing hardware
Twenty Minority Serving Institutions will be selected through a competitive application process to participate in the 2017 NASA Swarmathon Physical competition.  Each team will be provided with 3 Swarmie robot kits (valued at $5,000) on loan, as well as webinars, instructional documents, and other training materials.  The Faculty Member for each team will receive a $1,000 stipend.  Teams will develop their own search algorithms and test them at their own university using the 3 Swarmie robots.  Prior to the competition, teams will upload their code to contest organizers who will then load each team’s code on to 3 Swarmies at the Kennedy Space Center to see how the search algorithm performs. Teams will be ranked by the number of resources their search algorithm is able to locate in a specified period of time.  The event will be held in April, 2017 and broadcast live via an online video stream.  Teams are welcome to attend in person and observe their code in action, but travel to the event is not required.

Gazebo2) A simulated competition focused on algorithm development
Twenty Minority Serving Institutions will be selected through a competitive application process to participate in the 2017 NASA Swarmathon Virtual Competition.   This competition does not require use of the actual Swarmie hardware.  Students will be challenged to develop search algorithms and compete these algorithms in an online simulated environment.  Swarmathon organizers will provide teams with webinars, instructional documents, and other training materials.  The Faculty Member for each team will receive a $500 stipend.  All teams will be required to upload their code to competition organizers in advance, and organizers will run the code in an official simulation environment.  Teams will be ranked by the number of resources their search algorithm is able to locate in a specified period of time.

 

Other Opportunities
opportunity
Those students who participate in either the virtual or physical Swarmathon competition will also have the following opportunities available to them:

  • Research exchanges: Members of participating teams can apply for a paid internship at another participating university. Funding comes from the Swarmathon grant in partnership with government, private and non-profit collaborators.
  • Research communities: Swarmathon will provide text and video forums for discussions, trouble shooting, and collaborative problem solving among participating teams. Some will be moderated; others will be open and informal.
  • Online interface with NASA: Swarmathon will organize meetings with NASA KSC for students to discuss research ideas, technical challenges and, importantly, to engage in brainstorming sessions after each Swarmathon competition to promote the free exchange of best practices among participants.

 

FOR THE PHYSICAL SWARMIE COMPETITION

How it Works
Selected teams will be shipped 3 Swarmie robot kits to their school. These robots will be on loan to the school for the duration of its participation in the Swarmathon.  The Faculty member leading the project will receive a $1,000 stipend. Students spend the semester developing a search algorithm code which they can load on to the Swarmies and test run at their school in a parking lot or similar pavement surface . During the test runs, Swarmies will execute search patterns and scan randomly placed barcodes. The goal is to maximize the number of bar codes scanned.

The actual Swarmathon competition will be held in April, 2017. Prior to the competition, all teams will be required to upload their code to Swarmathon organizers. The organizers will run each team’s code on 3 Swarmies at the competition for a specified period of time, and record how many bar codes the team scans. Teams will be ranked according to the number of bar codes they are able to locate and scan.  The event will be broadcast live via an online stream.

Rules
A copy of the Competitions Rules can be downloaded HERE.  Please note these rules are in draft form and subject to further changes and refinement.

School Eligibility
Four-Year Universities and Two-Year Community Colleges that are Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) are eligible to apply to participate. To get information on how to determine if your school in an MSI please see the FAQs.

Application
In order for a team to be considered, a faculty member who will lead the team must submit an application on behalf of the team.

Requirements After Selection
If selected, all teams must agree to complete the following:
1) A one-credit or three-credit course must be organized around the competition for those students participating.

2) Each team must register their students in the Swarmathon database so contest organizers can report participation statistics to NASA.

3) All teams must complete an educational outreach project focused on reaching high school students. Teams shall be provided with the option to assist a local high school in entering a high school virtual robotics competition (designed and hosted by Swarmathon organizers), or implement their own outreach activity.

4) All teams must complete an Outeach report at least 4-6 pages in length not including cover, detailing their outreach activities and associated results.

5) All teams must complete a Technical report of at least 4-6 pages in length not including cover, detailing how they developed their search algorithm, the strategy or approach associated with the algorithm, problems and successes encountered, and overall findings/results.

Number of Students
One of the goals of this project is to maximize the number of students who participate in the Swarmathon. The recommended number of students per team is at least 4. Teams that are able to involve more students, will significantly increase their chances of selection. Faculty members should consider involving an entire class of students, breaking them into smaller internal teams, and having the best performing internal team upload their code for the official competition.

Timeline
August 1, 2016 – Application Deadline
August 29, 2016 – Selected Teams Announced
September 15, 2016 – Swarmie robot kits shipped to teams
October 21, 2016 – Intro Webinar-Software
January – April – Teams conduct course and prepare search algorithm
Early April – Deadline for teams to upload their code
Late April – Competition at NASA Kennedy Space Center

Selection Process
Applications will be evaluated based on the team’s management plan and implementation plan (including projected number of students). The selection committee will also considers diversity factors in the final award portfolio, such as but not limited to, different types of institutional representation, participation by individuals traditionally underrepresented in STEM studies and careers, and geography.

 

FOR THE VIRTUAL SWARMIE COMPETITION

How it Works
This competition does not require use of the actual Swarmie hardware.  Teams will be provided with specifications related to developing search algorithms for virtual Swarmies.  Teams will test these algorithms in an online simulated environment, which contains randomly placed virtual “resources”.

The goal is to maximize the number of virtual resources located.  All teams will be required to upload their code to competition organizers by a specified deadline, and organizers will run the code in an official simulation environment.  Teams will be ranked by the number of resources their search algorithm is able to locate in a specified period of time.  Results will be announced at the physical Swarmathon event at the NASA Kennedy Space Center in April, 2016.

School Eligibility
Four-Year Universities and Two-Year Community Colleges that are Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) are eligible to apply to participate. To get information on how to determine if your school in an MSI please see the FAQs below.

Application
In order for a team to be considered, a faculty member who will lead the team must submit an application on behalf of the team.

Requirements After Selection
If selected, all teams must agree to complete the following:
1) A one-credit or three-credit course must be organized around the competition for those students participating.

2)  Each team must register their students in the Swarmathon database so contest organizers can report participation statistics to NASA.

3) All teams must complete an educational outreach project focused on reaching high school students. Teams shall be provided with the option to assist a local high school in entering a high school virtual robotics competition (designed and hosted by Swarmathon organizers), or implement their own outreach activity.

4) All teams must complete an Outeach report at least 4-6 pages in length not including cover, detailing their outreach activities and associated results.

5) All teams must complete a Technical report of at least 4-6 pages in length not including cover, detailing how they developed their search algorithm, the strategy or approach associated with the algorithm, problems and successes encountered, and overall findings/results.

Number of Students
One of the goals of this project is to maximize the number of students who participate in the Swarmathon.  The recommended number of students per team is at least 4. Teams that are able to involve more students, will significantly increase their chances of selection. Faculty members should consider involving an entire class of students, breaking them into smaller internal teams, and having the best performing internal team upload their code for the official competition.

Timeline
August 15 , 2016 – Applications for Virtual Competition Open
September 22, 2016 – Virtual Application Recruitment Webinar
September 30, 2016 – Deadline for Virtual Competition Applications
October 12, 2016 – Selected Teams for Virtual Competitions Announced
October 21, 2016 – Intro Webinar-Software
January – April – Teams prepare search algorithm
Early April – Deadline for teams to upload their code
Late April – Final results announced at the Swarmathon at the NASA Kennedy Space Center

Selection Process
Applications will be evaluated based on the team’s management plan and implementation plan (including projected number of students). The selection committee will also consider diversity factors in the final award portfolio, such as but not limited to, different types of institutional representation, participation by individuals traditionally underrepresented in STEM studies and careers, and geography.

Check out the FAQs for additional info as well.