Become a Swarm Robotics Hacker Overnight

Organizers: Joshua P. Hecker, Melanie E. Moses, Elizabeth E. Esterly, G. Matthew Fricke


This multi-stage workshop will begin by convening students and scholars of swarm robotics for educational talks on swarm robotic algorithms, simulations, and hardware platforms by experts in the field. At the end of the first day, participants will transition to an 18-hour, all-night swarm robotics "Hackathon." The workshop will culminate in a spirited final competition at midday on the second day. "Become a Swarm Robotics Hacker Overnight" will be primarily advertised to and directed toward students from the 42 minority-serving colleges and universities participating in the NASA Swarmathon Challenge ; other students and researchers in swarm robotics are strongly encouraged to attend. The NASA Swarmathon, run by the organizers of this workshop, engages students from Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) in competitions with physical and virtual robot swarms to advance research and education in swarm robotics. The ultimate goal of the Swarmathon is to develop hardware and software to revolutionize the use of swarms in space exploration. The Swarmathon specifically challenges student teams to develop cooperative distributed search and retrieval (also called "foraging") algorithms implemented in hardware and applicable to NASA’s In Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) mission on Mars. ISRU requires technological advances to identify, map, and collect resources such as water ice and building materials required for human settlement. This exciting mission is an excellent application to engage students in integrating swarm robotic algorithms and hardware to explore our world and beyond.