First of all, let me convey my appreciation and excitement for ALL the effort and accomplishment shown in the trials thus far. It’s the culmination of so much consideration by the Execs in setting up our league approach and by teams in answering the call so effectively. There was some astonishingly good performance on display, and it was so easy to watch and score – which means the test methods are working too! This was a hugely important distributed test method validation exercise and any small adjustments appear really minimal. Teams are demonstrating their latest capabilities from their homes/labs and comparing results directly – that’s a breakthrough.
I cannot overstate the importance of this going forward for the league. Our ability to augment our approach to enable distributed remote trials means we’ve considerably reduced several barriers of entry for future teams, less cost, no travel, easier to fabricate tests, etc… So now we can reach so many more teams to qualify them for our in-person events, and potentially earn travel support to help them get there.
We’ll remember this year as the one that most fully leveraged our use of standardized tests, and will seek to implement it more globally than ever when the world fully gets back on its feet.
So thank you again for all that you’ve accomplished already. And I very much look forward to seeing the Final trials in action – remotely!
Regarding nominations for the Execs and TC, I have a few ideas:
First, Raymond is finishing his second term as an Exec so we have an opening to fill. He’s in the mix for a potential Trustee position, so we’ll see what happens. Typically we like to elevate a TC member to the Exec Committee based mainly on their efforts and effectiveness for the league over many years. There’s also a regional diversity we like to maintain across Execs.
Given the challenges we just overcame in setting up this year’s remote trials, I’d say that Ann Virts (USA) is an ideal candidate to elevate from the TC to augment the various talents and regions already represented on the Exec Committee.
Ann has obviously been instrumental in making our RoboCupRescue Robot League run effectively since 2006, and did so for AAAI competitions for years before that. Over all those years she helped develop the test methods, she generated the assembly guides for each championship arena in all the different countries we’ve been in, and she’s been a model test administrator that all teams can learn from. In short, her particular talents can help the Exec Committee effectively implement this next phase of the league with integrated remote qualification trials. She will also maintain the regional diversity of the Execs.
Full disclosure: It should be noted that Ann and I have worked together at NIST for all those years, and that she’s my Associate Project Leader. So consider this nomination as biased as it could be, having had a front row seat watching her work day in and day out over many years. But all things considered, that’s my sense of what would be best for the league. Of course, I’m open to discussions about other nominees as well.
As for the vacancy in the TC this would leave, I have and idea for that as well (shocking, I know). I would nominate Archer Losely (USA) to be elevated from the Organizing Committee to the TC. Anyone who has watched our Junior teams at events knows what an impact Archer has had, along with Raymond, of course. Together they implemented that part of our league from a notion of 3D printed robots to a vibrant and essentially self-sustaining part of our overall league. They started as a Junior outreach effort but the teams quickly became the smaller-scale researchers that our league always needed. That’s because the 3D printed robots reduce the cost of entry for any interested teams to get involved. Also because I’m convinced that 3D printed robots from RoboCupRescue can be the first truly disposable robots deployed in seriously hazardous environments. They can just move so much quicker to adopt newly proven implementations than the rest of the league based on quantitative results from trials conducted within the league. That’s a very powerful idea.
Archer has been instrumental in making all that happen, while demonstrating a variety of talents necessary to motivate and guide our younger teams. Some of the best practices from our Junior competitions have already been adopted into the overall league. But in any case, these smaller teams always need to be considered within our discussions going forward. So it is time we had direct representation from that part of our league within our TC. Archer will continue to ensure our league grows from the bottom up, and that the best ideas get leveraged more generally.
Full disclosure: Raymond and Archer are married, and now have a baby too (six weeks old, congrats!). We’ve never had actual family within our greater family of RoboCupRescue, so this has never come up. I suppose it could be considered a conflict of some sort. But even if Raymond does become a Trustee, I don’t think it is necessarily a problem (if it matters, this nomination will be over before the Trustees are known). Maybe there are examples in other leagues that could guide us here, but I don’t know of any. Maybe you do. I’ll leave it up to you all to consider this nomination along with any others that come up.
Best regards to you all, and I’m so looking forward to what’s ahead!