AiS Challenge Team Interim Report


Team Number: 043

School Name: Manzano HS

Area of Science: Computer Science

Project Title: Autonomous Learning Robots




This interim report will consist of three parts: a restatement of our initial abstract, a description of general skills our team has learned, and a report on our project status.


I plan to use microcontrollers or perhaps a computer linked by radio to a body to build a learning autonomous robot. The robot will be programmed with feelings and instincts. It will have certin sensors that produce a certain feeling. For example, when its battery is low, it will feel hungry. The robot will then remember events in the past that corrispond to that feeling and take action based on those memories and its sensors.

General Skills Training

During the past three months, our group has learned many important skills required for success in the Adventures in Supercomputing Challenge. Ever since the first day of class, our instructor has been teaching us the necessary aspects that are required in the curriculum.

First, we spent three weeks learning the general aspects of html. We learned about hyper links, placing images on a web page, placing colors, and cutting and pasting. Our final project in that rubric was to create our very own web page consisting of pictures, html codes, and placing tables. We edited an existing web page by replacing it with our own files and folders.

Then, we spent two to three weeks setting up both MHS AiS Challenge Linux accounts and accessing our New Mexico AiS Challenge Unix accounts. In our local Linux domain, we learned numerous Unix commands such as, ls, cd, mkdir, rmdir, making files via "pico", and copying/moving files. We also set up both telnet and ftp software at our home computers to allow us to interact with both MHS and the AiS Challenge site.

We spent a week discussing and researching general math algorithms for computing distances and velocities in simple motion problems, volumes of rectangular and cylindrical railroad cars, and creating mailing record databases.

Next, we spent five weeks learning the basic concepts of C++ programming code. We learned concepts and programming skills such as setting up the main function, cout and cin commands, mathematical computations, for loops, the use of if-else, mod, and setting up arrays. Also, we used the math algorithms in a Unix machine as the basis of most of our programs. Combining the math algorithms with programming skills, we then then wrote the C++ code to compute the volume of rectangular and cylindrical railroad cars, solving physics problems of motion, and creating a mailing record database. Basically, our instructor provided us with nominal information and starting templates to write the program code for the above sample problems.

Progress So Far

During these past months I have been working on the hardware side of the robot. I have been working on integrating different sensors to microcontrollers. I have also addressed the issue of memory. My robot needs large amounts of memory to store readings off of its sensors. I have been working on a system that allows a microcontroller to save data onto a Compact Flash card allowing it store megabytes of information. Another solution would have the memory of the robot on a desktop computer and it would communicate with its body by RF. On the software side, I haven't done much with algorithms, besides sensors and memory operations.

Team Members

Team Mail

Sponsoring Teacher(s)

Project Mentor(s)