It’s great to be back in Pittsburgh at the place I’ve called home for more than 35 years after spending three years at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar. And with a new job—assistant dean for outreach and engagement.
I think we all understand the “outreach” part. That’s CMU reaching out to you, and to the world. It’s the “engagement” part that’s more intriguing—that’s us, together, trying to determine how to help each other and make each other better.
My time in Qatar made me realize, viscerally, that Carnegie Mellon is a global institution, but also that students are students, regardless of location. It also made me realize that CMU alumni are everywhere.
A significant part of my new job will be to help determine how the university can be a partner and resource well beyond the time that students spend on campus. You can help—and actually, this part of my new job will only work if you do help.
We need to hear your ideas on how CMU can be such a partner and then help realize those needs in actual programs, events, seminars—whatever.
It’s an exciting time for computer science in the world—technology is fueling the American economic engine in a big way. It’s also an exciting time for computer science at CMU, with the 50th anniversary of the founding of the CS department and the CS Ph.D. program coming up this year. It’s also an exciting time for SCS and CMU, with Andrew Moore completing his first year as dean and Subra Suresh his second as president.
I am looking forward to seeing many of you in the months and years to come.
Mark J. Stehlik
Assistant Dean for Alumni Outreach and Engagement
mjs [atsymbol] cmu.edu
You can download the entire Summer 2015 issue of The Link as a PDF. (Adobe Reader or similar PDF application required.)
All photos by Carnegie Mellon University, except: pp. 7–8, courtesy Live Like Lou fund of the Pittsburgh Foundation (www.livelikelou.org); p. 9, courtesy Wikimedia Foundation; p. 13–15, courtesy Chris Atkeson; p. 17, courtesy Spliddit; p. 20, Wade H. Massie photo for Carnegie Mellon University; pp. 34–37, courtesy Disney Research Pittsburgh; p. 39, courtesy Poornima Kaniarasu; p. 40, courtesy Daniel Avrahami; p. 42 left, courtesy Mathematical Association of America; p. 42 right, courtesy Roni Rosenfeld; p. 45 left, courtesy Illah Nourbaksh; p. 45 right, courtesy National Aeronautics and Space Administration; p. 47, courtesy Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency; p. 48, courtesy Todd Jochem; back cover, photo illustration by Jason Togyer from an original photo by Eddie Welker (www.flickr.com/photos/ed_welker/), licensed under Creative Commons.
SCS Dean Andrew Moore asked me to evaluate the effectiveness of The Link as an outreach tool to our parents, alumni and other friends, so earlier this year, I sent surveys to 500 people randomly selected from our U.S. mailing list.
The questions were adapted from a model survey supplied by the non-profit Council for Advancement and Support of Education. Five people who returned the surveys were then randomly selected to receive Visa gift cards for $50, $25 or $10.
We received 112 responses, for a 22 percent return rate. Here’s what we learned.
Keep it or kill it?
A few respondents questioned the need for a school of computer science to have a print magazine. “Print is dead!!!” someone wrote. “Paper is not my preferred medium for information,” said another.
Yet many more respondents said they appreciate getting something tangible from SCS a few times per year. “The Link is a good idea—don’t get rid of it,” said someone who identified him or herself as a parent of a first-year CS student.
“All is good! I thank the magazine for (making) me feel I am still connected with CMU,” said someone else. “The Link is overall a very nice magazine. Keep up the good work!” said someone else, while another said, “I am more likely to read about SCS and CMU in hardcopy documents than online.”
Amount of contact “about right”: Most respondents recalled receiving The Link (91 percent), while 63 percent also remembered receiving the SCS holiday card, and 48 percent receive our SCS email newsletter, Bytesize.
A clear majority—75 percent—thinks the amount of contact they get from the School of Computer Science is “about right.” Another 14 percent thinks they get “too much” contact from SCS, while 6 percent think it’s “not enough.”
Interests, likes and dislikes
The top five topics in which respondents are interested, ranked in order, are faculty and student research, events they can attend, strategic planning for the future, general news about computing, and faculty and staff profiles. About 44 percent are “very interested” in stories about faculty and student research, while only 5 percent said they were “not at all interested.”
The topics they are least interested in reading about are, ranked in order, stories about donors, fundraising efforts, extracurricular activities, campus life at SCS, and the financial status of SCS. (Only 5 percent are “very interested” in stories about donors, while 41 percent are “not at all interested.”)
Ways, means and methods
Respondents get much of their information about CMU and SCS from email, but The Link is also important.
About 41 percent get “all or most” SCS news from emails, while another 40 percent get at least “some.” About 18 percent get none of their news about SCS from emails.
More than 31 percent of respondents get “all or most” of their news about SCS from this magazine. Another 44 percent get “some” of their information from The Link, while 24 percent said they get “none” of their information from The Link.
Although 70 percent of respondents are on Facebook and 29 percent are on Twitter, only 13 percent receive “all” or “most” of their news about SCS from social media. The majority—58 percent—gets no SCS news from social media.
The SCS website
Also somewhat surprisingly, few of the people in this survey reported using the SCS website for information. When we asked respondents how often they visit the SCS website, 48 percent said “never,” while 46 percent said “a few times per year.” About 5 percent said they visit “monthly” or “a few times per month.”
Only 7 percent of respondents are “very likely” to visit the website to read additional content from The Link; 35 percent are “not likely.”
The quality of the magazine: Respondents are generally satisfied with The Link; 27 percent report reading “all or most” of the magazine, and 55 percent read “some” of the magazine. About 54 percent said The Link is “generally accurate and informative,” while 44 percent had no opinion or were neutral.
Only two respondents ranked the magazine as “poor,” but between 52 and 61 percent of respondents rated the content, cover, writing, layout and ease of reading as either “good” or “excellent.”
About 57 percent of respondents save The Link for a month or more, 22 percent save the magazine for at least a week and 21 percent discard it immediately.
Call to action
Most of the respondents (70 percent) say The Link helps them feel in touch with SCS and CMU, while 57 percent say The Link provides useful information on current topics in computer science.
About 52 percent “agree or strongly agree” that The Link strengthens their personal connection to SCS, but 40 percent were neutral or had no opinion.
About 31 percent of respondents have forwarded an article from The Link to a friend, 24 percent have saved an article or issue, 15 percent have recommended CMU to someone because of an article they’ve read, 8 percent have contacted a classmate, and 4 percent have made a donation to CMU as a result of The Link.
If you were contacted and completed your survey, thank you! Your feedback was terrific and gave me plenty of information about areas where we’re succeeding—and others where we could use a little bit of help.
Here are some other things that respondents wrote:
- 1.) I would like to see more SCS organized events in Seattle area. 2.) I would like to get more CMU graduates for my company (Microsoft). Please help referring students!
- Thanks for sending me this survey. I hope my answer is useful to help SCS become a better place. I truly enjoyed my days in CMU SCS. Important/connection wise: I am not sure whether it's still necessary to send paper magazines to alumnus. Probably electronic version is better and emails is better. I tend to read emails more. I wish there's a way that I can follow topics/things that's most interested to me, instead of receiving all the information, e.g., my department, my classmates, my research lab. Of course, people can get those information from friends. But I will feel more connected to school if the email and information is more personalized.
- I really enjoy learning about the exciting research projects at SCS!
- The Link is a good idea – don’t get rid of it. As a parent of a freshman, it was helpful to learn more about SCS. I actually ended up sending it to my student. What I would appreciate is an email version with compelling photos and links to each article. And more often would be better. My older child attends a different institution, which actually sends a weekly email with links to articles – a very few written internally, the rest links to major media – about the school itself, faculty in the news, alumni in the news. I typically click on at least one of these articles a week. I also get an email with links to articles from the school newspaper which also makes me feel connected – I’ll click on a few of these a week. I also get emails every 2 weeks from the local alumni association. This is all probably too much, but as a result I feel much more connected with this university than CMU. As a parent of a freshman, I would love information on the curriculum, the minors offered, etc. I spent 1.5 hours with my freshman on the phone last night with about 8 windows open to the cmu website helping her think through possible minors etc before her advisor meeting the next day.
- All is good! I thank the magazine to let me feel that I am still connected with CMU.
- Very interesting articles; our oldest of 4 graduated from SCS at CMU in 2007. Our youngest is graduating with a CS degree from Pitt and tried to take a few courses at CMU but couldn't get into any of the courses. Her minor is in neuroscience and many of your articles point out other opportunities those with computer science degrees can pursue. We are always interested in how computer science is assisting in medical research.
- I went to CMU, Columbia, JHU for 3 different degrees. My best experience was still CMU. However, I'm still not sure what's the best way to stay and get connected with CMU.
- You could cut it down to the highest impact areas with additional online content. I generally toss it in the car or on the table so that others in the family pick it up and read it too. Sending it via email means it will get lost in the shuffle. Also, email won't be as image rich, which tends to get my attention. It's the difference between a cookbook with pictures and one without. The pictures one is going to be read/enjoyed more. Actually, an email that reminds me to go to a CMU magazine app on a tablet would be great for my family. If you added in indexing features that would be great. Just make it useful to my whole family. CMU is so inspiring to me, but it's not easy to make CMU a family affair in a meaningful (academic) way. Our eldest is applying to colleges for CS and CMU isn't even on his list. Our other son loves EE, but I can't figure out any way to leverage CMU to fuel his passion. It seems like such a loss.
- I haven't received the magazine and hence, not able to provide information about the magazine.
- I have switched careers and am now a psychotherapist. I am no longer as interested in topics of CS.
- Paper delivery is not my preferred medium for information. I use blogs / RSS feeds for topics of regular interest and facebook for social discovery, and generally don't keep paper around long enough for it to be available when I might want to read something.
- The Link is in general very well done.
- Do a better job of getting national attention. Every time I see some software or robotics breakthrough, it's from Google or MIT. Never CMU.
- i enjoy reading and learning about research at SCS
- The Link is overall a very nice magazine. Keep up the good work!
- The tone of CMU publications sometimes comes across as "insecure". CMU is a really strong institution: comparisons to other research institutions are fine but usually not necessary, especially when there is an attempt to one-up other institutions' contributions. CMU's work can stand on its own. To imply otherwise is a distracting disservice.
- Unfortunately, I find myself so busy with other tasks/works/activities that I don't take the time to read The Link. I am interested in it, but I just never seem to be able to find the time to read it.
- SCS didn't exist when I was on campus in the late 1950's. I like to keep in touch with CMU just to be aware of what is happening. I was an art/design major graduating in 1959. My son was an EE/Math major, graduating in 1985. I am a board of trustees member.
- Would like to see events in So. Cal. area - Hold more career events w/significant companies
- I haven't been following the Link very much until I was in one of the recent articles on (redacted). Looks like a good tool to keep in touch with the community.
- Every time I am addressed as "Mrs. [Husband's_Last_Name], I am offended. We both graduated from CMU, but only I was SCS. This practice is out of date.
- When I was at CMU, the Link magazine covered cliche stories, basically just following whatever/whoever was deemed hot/interesting, usually a select few individuals over and over. Whereas most SCS researchers were overlooked. For this reason today, as an alumn, I don't trust the magazine to be representative of SCS. Need to work harder to identify the ones that make SCS truely great.
- You should let respondents know (or full d-list if blind completes) who wins drawing
- I enjoy Link more than Stanford Engineering Magazine. It is too stuffy & dry. Link does better at storytelling and building a connection, plus has CS humor.
- What's The Link? Never heard of it.
- The correspondences are definitely a huge value-add. I'd love to see more content on trends that see research impact industry/start-ups. As an RI alum with a start-up and over a dozen RI alums working with us, some of these trends (like Google robotics work, Uber moved into Pittsburgh) are top of mind. Keep up the great work!
- SCS homepage, question 8: Links to faculty/staff/student homepages in old news articles are sometimes broken question 14: Thankfully I have access to PDFs of archives issues
- How can WE help make use of better PR? How can CMU's contributions be made more well known? How do places like Stanford and MIT get so many references in popular media and movies?
- I generally skim the magazine because I don't have time to sit and read it end-to-end.
- SCS was created after I graduated in 1982 with BS. I am not really familiar with the scope of activities and research topics undertaken by SCS. Constant overviews of the major and minor research groups are important. Also: What classes are being taught now? I am also interested in interdisciplinary efforts by SCS. Thank you for reaching out.
- I keep the Link around because I do want to read it and find out more about SCS, but I just never find time to read it. I wish it had less content so I can just read the most important things and not spare too much time to go through the magazine.
- I appreciate the connection. I am not terribly likely to give to the school considering my life circumstances. But I understand that fundraising is part of what the school has to do.
- We are both CMU undergrad alums but neither are SCS alums. We made a donation which is why we are on your list! :)
- I don't like the covers of the magazine with the large head shot.
- I am more likely to read about SCS and CMU in hardcopy documents than online.
- I enjoy each issue of the magazine. I get ideas from each one, or I follow up an article or link. I display the Christmas/holiday card each year. Thanks!
- I went to school for one year in the MSE program so I feel little connection to the school at large. I did my work and then I left. As such, I don't care to hear what's going on. I don't even work in software engineering any more so research advances are irrelevant to me. I'd like to be able to unsubscribe to "The Link." I also am offended by requests for money as I got ZERO financial aid. You've gotten all of the money you'll ever get from me, so please stop asking!!!!
- I appreciate engagement from CMU, however, I don't feel a strong connection with the SCS. As a MHCI grad, I never really felt like the HCI program was very much part of the SCS. It's almost like CMU put HCI with the SCS because they didn't know where else to put it. Additionally, as stated before, I don't believe that I receive The Link magazine so I really can't answer questions related to the magazine.
We have some very exciting things to tell you about—including a new undergraduate scholarship and the 25th anniversary of the founding of the School of Computer Science—but let me first tell you about the last few months.
It was a very busy summer. We had great, well-attended events for SCS and Electrical and Computer Engineering Department alumni and their families at the Boston Museum of Science and Seattle's EMP Museum.
Yet nothing could have prepared us for July 27’s SCS/ECE event at San Francisco's newly reopened Exploratorium. It was one of CMU’s largest regional alumni events this year, with more than 600 people in attendance. (See pages 30 and 31.)
Although we heard a lot of nice compliments about the San Francisco event and the venue, the evening couldn’t have happened without your support and enthusiasm.
. . .
Cèilidh—formerly known as homecoming and family weekend—came early this year (Sept. 27–29). One new wrinkle was a “TOBOM” race in the Gates Center for Computer Science. This was like our spring Mobot race on the mall in front of Wean Hall, but instead of going downhill, the autonomous robots navigated their way up the Gates Center’s helix.
I especially enjoyed spending time during Cèilidh with J. Renato Iturriaga (S’64, ’67) and his family. Renato was honored Sept. 27 as one of the university’s 2013 Distinguished Alumni.
As one of CMU’s first computer science Ph.D.’s—his advisor was Alan Perlis—Renato is a living link to the early days of the CS department. He has gone onto a truly distinguished career in academia, government and private industry in his native Mexico, and was recently appointed as a liaison between Mexico’s Federal Ministry of Education and the state governor of Morelos.
Renato’s wife and daughters told me he’s been regaling them for years with stories about his days at Carnegie Mellon, but this was the first time they had visited Pittsburgh. It was an emotional and rewarding experience for all of us.
. . .
Network Nights Are Now CMU Connect: It seems like the only constant in CMU’s history has been change. What we’ve been calling “Network Nights” is now known as “CMU Connect.” It’s more than a new name—it’s a whole new philosophy.
Our goal is to expand both the quality and the quantity of the activities we offer for our alumni and students, so they can grow both their social and professional networks. We want our alumni to be able to share their experiences and expertise with students and parents, and our current students to help our alumni reconnect with the university.
Our first series of “CMU Connect” events was held in New York City Oct. 16–20, and included a technology and entrepreneurship workshop hosted by Facebook, a “women in business” networking breakfast, a career panel, alumni career counseling, a career fair, and a reception hosted by PriceWaterhouseCoopers.
On Oct. 19, we tried something different, as alumni, students and friends of the university volunteered their time to help New York’s public schools during “New York Cares Day.”
Our next CMU Connect events will be held in February in Pittsburgh, followed by events in Washington, D.C., and San Francisco in March. Do you like the change? You’ll have to attend and let me know.
. . .
New Stehlik Scholarship Created: How about this new scholarship I mentioned? It’s the creation of our SCS Alumni Advisory Board, and it’s named for Mark Stehlik, longtime assistant dean for undergraduate education who now serves as associate dean of Carnegie Mellon University’s Qatar campus.
The Stehlik Impact Scholarship is designed to address a concern—raised by some alumni and faculty—that students are too often focused on their grades and their future careers to the exclusion of exploring research and community service.
The Stehlik scholarship will recognize SCS seniors who have demonstrated that they have interests beyond the classroom in research, entrepreneurship and outreach to others.
The scholarship is designed as an incentive to help spark conversation and ultimately change the culture at SCS for the better. Students will be nominated by SCS faculty, and the ultimate selection will be made by the associate dean for undergraduate education. The guidelines for selection are intentionally broad, giving faculty wide latitude to nominate students based on their impact “in the field of computer science, in the community, and in the world.”
The alumni advisory board’s goal is to raise enough money to support a $10,000 annual scholarship. If you’d like to become part of the fundraising effort, please contact me.
. . .
SCS 25th Anniversary: Dec. 1, 2013 will mark the 25th anniversary of the appointment of A. Nico Habermann as the first dean of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University. The creation of the School of Computer Science was announced to the public on Jan. 2, 1989.
We are planning a full slate of events later in 2014 to mark our first quarter century. You have played an important part in SCS’s journey so far—so we hope that you will be able to join us during the year as we mark this important milestone.
Make sure you’re registered in our alumni database (alumni.cmu.edu) so that you won’t miss an update. And we hope to see you soon!
. . .
Tina M. Carr (HNZ’02)
SCS Director of Alumni Relations
- B.S.E., computer science and engineering, University of Pennsylvania, 2000
- M.S., robotics, Carnegie Mellon University, 2008
- Ph.D., robotics, Carnegie Mellon University, 2011
- B.S., electrical and computer engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, 2005
- B.S., computer science, Carnegie Mellon University, 2005
- M.S., robotics, Carnegie Mellon University, 2007
- Ph.D., robotics, Carnegie Mellon University, 2010
- Dipl. Ing. Inf., Technische Universität Wien, Austria, 2004
- M.S., robotics, Carnegie Mellon University, 2008
(Editor’s Note: We’re trying something different with the “Alumni Snapshots” in this issue. We’ve interviewed, together, the three co-founders of San Francisco-based Anki Inc.)
Anki Inc. made its high-profile debut on the world stage June 10 when the company’s first product, Anki Drive, was demonstrated during the keynote at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference.
Anki Drive runs on Apple’s iOS and allows users to control toy racecars from their iOS devices. It’s the first game where real, moving objects simultaneously interact with a virtual environment, their physical surroundings and one another.
Netscape co-founder and venture capitalist Marc Andreessen, who serves on the Anki board of directors, calls it “the best robotics startup I have ever seen.”
Anki’s three co-founders met at Carnegie Mellon in 2005. All of them grew up with an interest in technology—especially robotics.
“As a kid, I was always interested in making things that could interact with the real world,” says Hanns Tappeiner, who was born in Germany and raised in northern Italy. “One time, I tried to build a machine that could steal candy out of a candy jar. It never really worked! Later, I took up building things in Lego and hooked my creations up to really, really early versions of microcontrollers.”
By the time Tappeiner completed his undergraduate work at Austria’s Technical University of Vienna, he’d been doing robotics “for a very long time,” both as a hobby and as a field of study.
Boris Sofman was born in Russia and immigrated to the United States as a child. His earliest computing experience was programming in Logo, the educational language that allowed users to program either an on-screen turtle or a real-world robot. He came to CMU to earn degrees in both engineering and computer science.
“The idea of making things in the physical world was very exciting to me,” Sofman says. “As an undergrad, I got to participate in a couple of projects at the Field Robotics Center where people were working on autonomous navigation, with robots that could sense and avoid obstacles, and as I was applying to grad schools, I realized the kind of robotics I wanted to study was being done best at CMU.”
Mark Palatucci was just 5 years old when his dad brought an IBM PCjr—the family’s first personal computer—into their Philadelphia home. “I immediately fell in love with it,” he says. “By the time I was 6, I started learning BASIC, and by the time I was 10 years old, my aunt bought me my first robotics kit.” That kit, and others he assembled, are on his desk at Anki 25 years later.
He graduated from Penn, moved to Silicon Valley and started Copera, a company that developed software for handheld PCs and early smartphones. “I also started volunteering on Stanford’s DARPA Grand Challenge team in 2004 to help build the Stanley robot, and met a lot of really incredible people,” including former CMU professor Sebastian Thrun, Palatucci says. “They were all super-smart and they had all come from CMU’s Robotics Institute.” He applied and was accepted into the Ph.D. program.
Besides robotics, the three also shared an interest in consumer products. “Whenever we brainstormed things, it was never about, ‘What can we do in the lab?’” Tappeiner says. “Instead, it was always, ‘What can we do to make this a viable product?’”
The idea that evolved into Anki Drive can be described in four words, according to Sofman. “Real-world Sim City,” he says. “Sim City is an intelligent ecosystem. We wondered how we could make that environment possible in the real world. How could we make a physical object—a car—understand where it was located in its environment, very precisely? How could we make the algorithms efficient enough to do it, and how could we deliver it at a price point that people can afford?”
In laboratory research, Sofman says, it doesn’t matter if a robot needs a $5,000 sensor and “a crazy amount of computation,” but that simply won’t work for a consumer product.
Anki Drive solves the efficiency problem by separating higher-level functions—those that control game play—from less-complex functions. Although the remote cars each have an onboard 50 MHz microcontroller as well as navigational sensors, the artificial intelligence required to play a game is done completely on the user’s iPhone running the Anki Drive app. The cars communicate with the app and one another via Bluetooth LE. Tappeiner compares it to the human body’s separation of autonomous nervous system functions, such as breathing, from conscious, deliberative decisions made by the brain.
Trying to offload all of the decision-making ability to the remote device wouldn’t work, Sofman says. “There’s too much latency, and the bandwidth also wouldn’t support it,” he says.
The separation of functions also ensures the long-term value of the system, Palatucci says. “The mechanical parts onboard the cars only control their basic functionality,” he says. “Over time, we not only can upgrade the software in the app, but we can also upgrade the software used by the microcontrollers in the cars.”
Apple’s iOS 6 ecosystem was the perfect platform for Anki Drive, Palatucci says, because it was one of the first consumer products to support Bluetooth LE, which was designed for low-power consumption and control of multiple devices at the same time.
For anyone who’s enjoyed either conventional remote-control cars or video racing simulations, the prospect of combining the two is appealing. Now imagine scaling up Anki Drive, and using Bluetooth LE and iPads to control larger moving objects—say, robots delivering products in a distribution center, or mass-transit vehicles traveling between stations.
That’s exactly what the Anki co-founders have in mind. While Anki Drive is a finished, sellable product, it’s also a proof-of-concept for a new way of mass-producing semi-autonomous robotic devices.
“From the very beginning, we wanted to make sure Anki was a robotics company, and not a games company or a toy company,” Sofman says. “Entertainment is familiar, it’s fun, and there isn’t a massive number of regulatory barriers, so we thought this was a way to enter the market and re-invent the way people play.
“But the ability to do position-sensing in the real world, and to deploy efficient algorithms that deal with uncertainty, all of those things are in Anki Drive already,” he says. “We want to make the most practical robots that are deliverable today, and then become more and more advanced, tackling larger and larger problems.”
Launching a high-profile startup company has taken its toll on the founders’ personal lives. “I used to have outside interests,” Sofman says, laughing. “It’s gotten a little bit harder lately. I play a lot of tennis, and I’ve started biking. California is a very nice place for that.”
Palatucci learned to fly single-engine private planes while he was at CMU, though like Sofman, he also doesn’t have much time for hobbies these days.
Adds Tappeiner: “Quite frankly, you can’t start a company like this if it’s not also your hobby.”
Key to Anki’s development has been the continuing connection between the company and the School of Computer Science. At this writing, the company employs about four dozen people, one-fourth of whom have ties to the Robotics Institute. “It’s definitely a core part of what we’re doing here, and we’re very thankful for the experience we had at CMU,” says Tappeiner, adding that working with RI research professor Ralph Hollis helped to shape his own ideas.
Palatucci says Tom Mitchell, head of CMU’s Machine Learning Department, was a key influence, while Sofman says RI research professor Tony Stentz and associate professor Drew Bagnell had a big impact on his work.
“We had great advisors and great colleagues,” Sofman says. “What we’ve achieved at Anki on a technical scale was built on things we learned at the Robotics Institute.”
—Jason Togyer (DC’96)
There is still time to finalize your 'bot' before the Races.
All potential participants or those just considering entering the races are welcome. Individuals and team efforts are particularly encouraged. If you can't build one yourself, lean on a colleague, friend, or associate in another division. There is strength (and sometime better Mobots!) through collaboration and sharing of skills/knowledge.