Carnegie Mellon Hosts High School Robotics Champs From Qatar Campus

Carnegie Mellon University is hosting three high school students from the Al RU'YA Bilingual School in Kuwait who took the top spot at Carnegie Mellon in Qatar's first international Botball® competition. The students won a trip to Pittsburgh as the grand prize after beating 17 other teams from Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait in May.

The students and their teacher will spend five days in Pittsburgh. They'll tour the university's Robotics Institute and Entertainment Technology Center, take in a Pirates game, tour the city, do some caving and be recognized at a meeting of the Pittsburgh City Council at 10 a.m., Tuesday, July 17. Councilman Bill Peduto will be their host. For most of these academically talented students, this will be their first journey to the United States.

The Botball high school robotics competition is a U.S.-based organization that brings robotics to high schools. Student teams are equipped with a Lego© Mindstorm robot, along with instruction on how to program it to move autonomously through a course.

Carnegie Mellon Qatar introduced Botball to its undergraduate campus in Doha, Qatar, in 2005 and four high school teams took part. Last year the competition increased to six teams from Doha, and this year it expanded to include 12 teams from Doha, three teams from Kuwait and three from the United Arab Emirates. Many of the teams showed outstanding skills in robotics and computer science, however the AL RU'YA Bilingual School in Kuwait secured the international championship.

"The trip will be fun and educational, and we hope it will be an inspiration to the Botball students to continue their good work in robotics and computer science," said Charles E. Thorpe, dean of Carnegie Mellon in Qatar and former director of the university's Robotics Institute. He plans to lead the students on their institute tour.

Because of the overwhelming success of the Botball competitions, Carnegie Mellon in Qatar plans to encourage high school students from the entire Persian Gulf region to participate in the robotics competition next year.

Note to Editors: Students and their teacher will be available for interviews and photo opportunities from Tuesday, July 17, through Friday, July 20. Contact Andy Zrimsek at 412-606-1166.

About Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar: Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar is the first international branch campus operated by Carnegie Mellon University. At the invitation of Qatar Foundation, Carnegie Mellon began offering its highly regarded undergraduate programs in business administration and computer science in August 2004. Carnegie Mellon plans to open a new facility on the Education City campus in 2008. More information can be found at www.qatar.cmu.edu.

About Carnegie Mellon: Carnegie Mellon is a private research university with a distinctive mix of programs in engineering, computer science, robotics, business, public policy, fine arts and the humanities. More than 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students receive an education characterized by its focus on creating and implementing solutions for real problems, interdisciplinary collaboration, and innovation. A small student-to-faculty ratio provides an opportunity for close interaction between students and professors. While technology is pervasive on its 144-acre Pittsburgh campus, Carnegie Mellon is also distinctive among leading research universities for the world-renowned programs in its College of Fine Arts. A global university, Carnegie Mellon has campuses in Silicon Valley, Calif., and Qatar, and programs in Asia, Australia and Europe. For more, see www.cmu.edu.

For More Information
Byron Spice | 412-268-9068 | bspice@cs.cmu.edu