LCS engineering students place first in IEEE Micromouse Competition
Four engineering students in the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science at Syracuse University took first prize at the annual IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Micromouse Competition in Boston on March 26. Sponsored by the local chapter of IEEE, it was the first time that SU students have participated in this event.
Senior computer engineering students Minghao Ruan, Andrew Cash and David Paul Perra Jr., and junior Weihua Li, all students in LCS’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), worked on their project for more than three months.
“It was truly fascinating to approach a problem from several different angles, compare and contrast the possible solutions and then make a design decision based on our analysis,” says Perra. He was team leader and is also the president of IEEE student branch of SU.
Teams were required to build an autonomous robotic “micromouse” that negotiates a maze of standard dimensions, from a specified corner to its center, in the shortest amount of time. Students had to conduct algorithm developments, low-level programming and high-level programming to prepare their mouse for the competition.
To begin the competition, each team had to give a brief presentation of its mouse design. The SU team even designed a simulation to test its algorithms and programs, and also constructed a physical test maze. Each team was then given 10 minutes of access to the maze. In this time, the mouse could take as many necessary trials to get from the start cell to the center zone. The shortest run time in these 10 minutes was the mouse’s official time. The LCS team’s mouse took four-and-a-half minutes to search the maze and then completed the maze in 69 seconds on the shortest path.
“EECS students have shown that they can excel at challenging tasks and outperform their peers from other schools,” says EECS Chair Chilukuri Mohan. “We congratulate them and the faculty members who mentored them.
All contestants were required to be IEEE members at a Region 1 school. To view a video of the team’s run, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FY2TV5Xzmrw.