Mighty robots, brainy AI, and breakthrough research
Posted 02/26/2019 09:00AM

Tianjin Robotics Competition

By Nick Yates, ISB Communications

The International School of Beijing (ISB) regularly arranges for its students to take part in events away from the school, and lately they have been excelling in science and technology competitions around China and abroad.

With ISB fine-tuning its tech and design programs and supercharging its co-curricular offerings, the past month has seen science and engineering whizzes from Shunyi show off their skills in Boston, Chengdu, and Tianjin.

Stone T, Tom J, Drason Z, and Alex X formed the ISB Codelympians team for the prestigious Battlecode computer programming competition, which wrapped up in Boston on February 2. Battlecode is organized by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

According to grade 12 student Stone, the team made the finals of the competition by qualifying for the top 16 round, earning a free trip to MIT, and eventually placed ninth overall out of over 600 registered teams, fourth out of all high school teams.

"Battlecode is MIT's premier programming competition and is well known for being one of the most hard-core of them all," Stone said. "Competitors comprise university and high school students, and are given one month to program an AI to compete in a virtual game where the objective is to mine resources, build units, and destroy the enemy castles. Algorithms such as breadth-first search and data structures such as queues are a must, and the competition truly tests one's ability to think, apply, and prioritize given the time constraints."

In late January, ISB students traveled to Chengdu, Sichuan province for a qualifying event for the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), to be held in the US in May. Harry X (pictured), grade 11, earned a Superior ranking, which is the top of three levels awarded at the fair. He also won a Superior rank last year, and an Excellent rank the year before that.

Intel ISEF - Harry X

The Intel ISEF is the world's largest international pre-college science competition. Students must develop original research projects and present their work for assessment and judging.

ISB students were also very competitive in the Tianjin Robotics Competition hosted by Tianjin International School last weekend. Each robot was randomly paired with another to form a team of two in this event, one of over 1,000 Vex Robotics competitions held annually worldwide, mostly in the US. ISB has been going to the Tianjin competition since 2014.

For ISB, all this success is reward for a lot of hard work by students and teachers in building science, tech, and design skills. High School computer science and robotics teacher Tyler Beatty posted this blog in July anticipating the Tianjin competition and considering how best to teach robotics and what students can learn from it.

High School course offerings in the areas of design, robotics, and interdisciplinary learning for the 2019-2020 academic year include Product Design; Graphic Design; Intro to Programming; 3D Modeling and Mechanics; Robotics: Control Systems Design; Game Design; Robotics for Competitions; and Science and Engineering for grades 9 and 10.

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