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China to Hold 2008 'Robot World Cup'

As the 2006 World Cup in Germany gets world attention, a very special event, the "Robot World Cup" or "RoboCup" was unveiled in Bremen, Germany on June 14, and the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) will host the event in 2008.

This year's RoboCup attracted from around the world more than 440 "teams" representing 20,000 robot fans from 36 countries and regions.

This five-day event closed yesterday and Japan's Team Osaka were champions. The RoboCup is divided into five categories: simulation, small and middle sizes, four-legged and humanoid.

After stiff competition and great efforts, the USTC, Suzhou local authorities of Jiangsu Province and the National RoboCup Committee will, on behalf of China, hold the 2008 competition in Suzhou. The 2007 competition is going to Atlanta, the US.

RoboCup, first held in 1997, is an annual international joint project to promote artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and related technologies. 

The event is an attempt to foster AI and robotic research by providing a standard problem where a wide range of technologies can be integrated and examined.

Soccer was chosen as the central topic of research with the aim of innovations being developed and applied for socially significant problems and industries. The ultimate goal of the RoboCup is to develop a team of fully autonomous, humanoid robots that would beat the human world soccer team champion by 2050.

In order for a robot team to actually play soccer, various technologies must be incorporated, including design principles of autonomous agents, multi-agent collaboration, strategy acquisition, real-time reasoning, robotics and sensor-fusion. RoboCup will be for a team of fast-moving robots operating in a dynamic environment.

RoboCup also offers a software platform for research on the software requirements of such a competition. One of the possible applications of RoboCup technology could be in search and rescue in large-scale disasters.

(China.org.cn by Wang Ke, June 19, 2006)

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