DEJA VU

Posted by Bill Beatty, Other on team #71, Team Hammond, from Team Hammond.

Posted on 4/4/99 9:36 AM MST

Some 50 years ago we used to have a procedure on the playground called ‘choosing up sides’. Boy, I hated that. Then we switched to shooting baskets or throwing baseballs for the selection process. Finally we drew numbers out of a hat for truly random selection. I feel like I have reverted to my second childhood!

After further thought, I still feel that the alliance selection should be an automatic seeding process, but it appears I’m alone on this one.

Good luck to everyone. I am looking forward to saying hello to old friends and making new ones in Florida. That’s the best part!

Bill Beatty

Posted by Daniel, Student on team #192, Gunn Robotics Team, from Henry M Gunn Senior High School and NASA Ames.

Posted on 4/4/99 12:02 PM MST

In Reply to: DEJA VU posted by Bill Beatty on 4/4/99 9:36 AM MST:

You might just get it. When I wrote to Lori on the new rules, she responded by saying that it had been decided that the top 16 seeds would each choose an alliance partner and that ‘there will be a third alliance with every team, but how they get ‘chosen’ has yet to be determined’.

From her wording, it sounds almost as if alliances aren’t necessarily going to be able to pick and choose. But who really knows? All we can do is wait…

Personally, I am a fan of teams picking partners for four reasons:

(1) It will be more exciting to watch alliances with two very complimentary robots whose designs work well together

(2) With only 6 QMs, the top 16 teams will very unlikely be in the correct order. Does #1 necessarily deserve the #17 seed? (just look at how few regionals #1 won the gold)

(3) Some robots will be very defensive throughout the competition. Perhaps their score won’t bring them in the top 48 robots, but perhaps they are great and completely deserve to compete in the finals. Do they just get forgotten?

(4) When I first found out about the alliance process I was very supportive, because it eliminates the ill luck that (for example) eliminated Chief Delphi last year. You can get unlucky and someone will still pick you because they KNOW you’re good.

We’ll see what FIRST decides, maybe we’ll get a little of both. If there’s anyone I trust to make the right decision on this, it’s FIRST. Those guys do a great job!

-Daniel

Posted by Daniel, Student on team #192, Gunn Robotics Team, from Henry M Gunn Senior High School and NASA Ames.

Posted on 4/4/99 12:02 PM MST

In Reply to: DEJA VU posted by Bill Beatty on 4/4/99 9:36 AM MST:

You might just get it. When I wrote to Lori on the new rules, she responded by saying that it had been decided that the top 16 seeds would each choose an alliance partner and that ‘there will be a third alliance with every team, but how they get ‘chosen’ has yet to be determined’.

From her wording, it sounds almost as if alliances aren’t necessarily going to be able to pick and choose. But who really knows? All we can do is wait…

Personally, I am a fan of teams picking partners for four reasons:

(1) It will be more exciting to watch alliances with two very complimentary robots whose designs work well together

(2) With only 6 QMs, the top 16 teams will very unlikely be in the correct order. Does #1 necessarily deserve the #17 seed? (just look at how few regionals #1 won the gold)

(3) Some robots will be very defensive throughout the competition. Perhaps their score won’t bring them in the top 48 robots, but perhaps they are great and completely deserve to compete in the finals. Do they just get forgotten?

(4) When I first found out about the alliance process I was very supportive, because it eliminates the ill luck that (for example) eliminated Chief Delphi last year. You can get unlucky and someone will still pick you because they KNOW you’re good.

We’ll see what FIRST decides, maybe we’ll get a little of both. If there’s anyone I trust to make the right decision on this, it’s FIRST. Those guys do a great job!

-Daniel

Posted by Peter VanWylen, Student on team #107, Team ROBOTICS, from Holland Christian High School and Metal Flow Corp…

Posted on 4/5/99 8:30 PM MST

In Reply to: Be carefull what you wish for… posted by Daniel on 4/4/99 12:02 PM MST:

: (3) Some robots will be very defensive throughout the competition. Perhaps their score won’t bring them in the top 48 robots, but perhaps they are great and completely deserve to compete in the finals. Do they just get forgotten?
Exactly!!
FIRST cannot change to an automatic selection process. Many teams started the whole thing out deciding to be totally defenseive. I take TechnoKats as an example. They are totally defensive, and usually seed near the bottom. However they always get picked in.

If FIRST changed it to this now, there would be a lot of teams that would be cut a short deal. This type of rule change would have made many teams design their robot totally different – ie. no defensive robots. On the other hand, getting rid of rejections doesn’t change how teams design their robots. All that rule change does is help prevent some bad ‘deals’

So, in conclusion, I don’t like the auto-selection process. Stoping rejections would be the best thing for the competition.

-Peter

Posted by Daniel, Student on team #192, Gunn Robotics Team, from Henry M Gunn Senior High School and NASA Ames.

Posted on 4/5/99 11:53 PM MST

In Reply to: Re: Be carefull what you wish for… posted by Peter VanWylen on 4/5/99 8:30 PM MST:

Peter, I’m not sure you quite see the implications of what you said at the end there. Stopping rejections is not necessarily good for defensive teams. Take a look at my other post.

The link is down there below my name…

-Daniel

Posted by Jason Leslie, Other on team #157, The Aztechs, from Assabet Valley RTHS and Simplex / EMC / Intel Massachusetts / Ascend .

Posted on 4/4/99 12:18 PM MST

In Reply to: DEJA VU posted by Bill Beatty on 4/4/99 9:36 AM MST:

I have to agree with you but…

I have noticed at the Hartford Regional and have heard about in the other
regionals is that the top 8 teams have most always chosen the next set of
seeded teams as there alliances.

I think this is because they are the next ‘best’ robots and teams in the
competition.

So if you reallly look at the competition closley I think you will see
this in FL at the national competition.

I hope to see that the 3rd alliance member wil be chosen randomdly
although I don’t see a need for the 3rd alliance. If a robot breaks it
breaks just like in the rest of the competitions.

Jay Leslie

Posted by Tom Vanderslice, Student on team #275, ORHS/AST/Hitachi, from Academy of Science and Technology and Hitachi.

Posted on 4/4/99 7:10 PM MST

In Reply to: DEJA VU posted by Bill Beatty on 4/4/99 9:36 AM MST:

: Some 50 years ago we used to have a procedure on the playground called ‘choosing up sides’. Boy, I hated that. Then we switched to shooting baskets or throwing baseballs for the selection process. Finally we drew numbers out of a hat for truly random selection. I feel like I have reverted to my second childhood!

: After further thought, I still feel that the alliance selection should be an automatic seeding process, but it appears I’m alone on this one.

: Good luck to everyone. I am looking forward to saying hello to old friends and making new ones in Florida. That’s the best part!

: Bill Beatty

I believe there is one fatal flaw in your logic and that is what’s at
stake…although ‘playground pride’ is a big deal its nothing like the
national comp…when on the playground if you’re team ended up with the
short end of the stick today in a random draw, you came back tomorrow,
or next week…and hoped for better luck. Well at nationals, at the
risk of using a cliche, there is no tomorrow.

In the long run, with just random selection the cream will rise to the
top (on the playground…everyone knew who the best players were)…this
is a lot like qualifying rounds this year…and the validity of that is
a whole different discussion…but anyway…in one weekend there isn’t
time to let random selection slowly show who the top teams are…you have
to get an idea of who the top teams are, and then let them duke it out in
a tournament, making the tournament a random selection (or even based on
seeds which is fairly random…except you have the ‘top’ teams)…is
essentially just extending the qualifying rounds…and that’s not the
point of a tournament…the point of a tournament is to have a
‘winner takes all’ competition…the ‘best’ team or the ‘favorite’ team
doesn’t always win a tournament…but ‘that’s why you play the games’…
its not good enough to be simply the best or the strongest or the
fastest…you have to be able to step up on command and play your
best when you have to.

Hmm…gee…sorry…that was a lot more than I meant to write when I
started, but there’s my 2+ cents…

Tom
Team 275

Posted by Tom Vanderslice, Student on team #275, ORHS/AST/Hitachi, from Academy of Science and Technology and Hitachi.

Posted on 4/4/99 7:19 PM MST

In Reply to: DEJA VU…all over again… posted by Tom Vanderslice on 4/4/99 7:10 PM MST:

: : Some 50 years ago we used to have a procedure on the playground called ‘choosing up sides’. Boy, I hated that. Then we switched to shooting baskets or throwing baseballs for the selection process. Finally we drew numbers out of a hat for truly random selection. I feel like I have reverted to my second childhood!

: : After further thought, I still feel that the alliance selection should be an automatic seeding process, but it appears I’m alone on this one.

: : Good luck to everyone. I am looking forward to saying hello to old friends and making new ones in Florida. That’s the best part!

: : Bill Beatty

: I believe there is one fatal flaw in your logic and that is what’s at
: stake…although ‘playground pride’ is a big deal its nothing like the
: national comp…when on the playground if you’re team ended up with the
: short end of the stick today in a random draw, you came back tomorrow,
: or next week…and hoped for better luck. Well at nationals, at the
: risk of using a cliche, there is no tomorrow.

: In the long run, with just random selection the cream will rise to the
: top (on the playground…everyone knew who the best players were)…this
: is a lot like qualifying rounds this year…and the validity of that is
: a whole different discussion…but anyway…in one weekend there isn’t
: time to let random selection slowly show who the top teams are…you have
: to get an idea of who the top teams are, and then let them duke it out in
: a tournament, making the tournament a random selection (or even based on
: seeds which is fairly random…except you have the ‘top’ teams)…is
: essentially just extending the qualifying rounds…and that’s not the
: point of a tournament…the point of a tournament is to have a
: ‘winner takes all’ competition…the ‘best’ team or the ‘favorite’ team
: doesn’t always win a tournament…but ‘that’s why you play the games’…
: its not good enough to be simply the best or the strongest or the
: fastest…you have to be able to step up on command and play your
: best when you have to.

: Hmm…gee…sorry…that was a lot more than I meant to write when I
: started, but there’s my 2+ cents…

: Tom
: Team 275

Sorry, I reread my message and realized I kind of went of on a tangent…

But, my basic point was that not allowing the top seeded teams to play
with what they think is their ‘best’ (anotherwords…the partner that will
best suit their robot)…completely destroys the validity of the tournament.

Tom

Posted by Jason, Coach on team #252/254, Bay Bombers/Cheesy Poofs, from Broadway High and NASA Ames.

Posted on 4/4/99 8:27 PM MST

In Reply to: Addition to DEJA VU…all over again… posted by Tom Vanderslice on 4/4/99 7:19 PM MST:

Seems to me that Bill & Tom are both right.

I agree with Tom in that the top seeds (in order) should have the right to pick the team (teams)they feel best compliment their robot & give their alliance the best chance to win.
I also agree with Bill that we are there to have fun and to compete the best we can. I agree that side deals & lots of rejections aren’t in the best interest of the competition. I trust the top seeds to know what they need to do well. If they decide OUR robot gives them the best chance to win, great! They earned the right to pick us, regardless if WE feel that a team seeded after them is a little better. WE would be honored to be chosen by ANY team.
If we finish in the top 16, then we have earned the right to be choosy & pick our ally. If not, then we haven’t earned the right to choose our partner - and we would be honored to be chosen by any of the top 16.
So to agree with Tom & Bill - let the top seeds pick the alliances with no rejections, instead of the teams who didn’t finish 1-16 getting to pick the alliances. After all, Bill is right. We all go to Florida for the experience, the competition, & to have fun. Making the elimination round will just be a bonus and a great experience we would ALL love, so why worry so much about which team you are with. We should all be happy to get there & to have the chance to win.
Hope everyone had a great weekend! See ya at Epcot,

Jason

Posted by Frank of team #97, Psychedelics, from CRLS sponsored by MIT.

Posted on 4/4/99 9:04 PM MST

In Reply to: Re: Addition to DEJA VU…all over again… posted by Jason on 4/4/99 8:27 PM MST:

So here are my thoughts on the whole situation. I went to the Detriot
regional with WildStang and helped them with some strategy stuff. I was
there when they were denied over and over again. I was there when a
team came up and said ‘Do not pick us, we already have an alliance with
a lower seeded team.’ And all that time, I thought how unlike the
spirit of FIRST that Dean and Woodie always talk about that behavior
really was. If you make it to the top, you should be able to pick
the robot that will best compliment yours…WildStang was seeded second
and got their thrid or fourth choice of a teammate. It was a great robot
nonetheless, but not the one that the strategy group had picked as the
best match. A lower team got an advantage by picking a ‘better’ team.

You have to remember that by denying teams so that a lower seeded team
can have a better alliance with robots that ‘work together’ and higher
seeded team will get shafted.

My basic point is that if you are good enough to make it to the top, you
should be able to pick your partner. And the only way someone should be
able to deny you should be if they choose not to be in the finals (i.e.
their robot is broken, etc). Teams in the bottom group should be
honored to go with whatever team chooses them.

That’s my take on it…I think it will be a lot more friendly that way.

Frank Bentley
Team 97 MIT/CRLS '99
Team 111 WildStang '96-'98

Posted by Joe Johnson, Engineer on team #47, Chief Delphi, from Pontiac Central High School and Delphi Automotive Systems.

Posted on 4/4/99 9:16 PM MST

In Reply to: Rejections are not in the spirit of the game posted by Frank on 4/4/99 9:04 PM MST:

Frank said it well. I agree with him.

Joe J.

P.S. Does anyone know if ‘hear, hear!’ or ‘here, here!’ is the appropriate exclamation of agreement? Do tell…

Posted by Jerry Eckert, Engineer on team #140 from Tyngsboro, MA High School and New England Prototype/Brooks Automation.

Posted on 4/5/99 6:05 AM MST

In Reply to: Hear, hear! (here, here! ?) posted by Joe Johnson on 4/4/99 9:16 PM MST:

: P.S. Does anyone know if ‘hear, hear!’ or ‘here, here!’ is the appropriate exclamation of agreement? Do tell…

My guess is that it is ‘Hear, hear!’, as a short form of ‘Hear ye, hear ye!’

- Jerry

Posted by Brandon Martus, Other on team #47, Chief Delphi, from Pontiac Central High School and Delphi Automotive Systems.

Posted on 4/5/99 12:24 PM MST

In Reply to: Hear, hear! (here, here! ?) posted by Joe Johnson on 4/4/99 9:16 PM MST:

My Guess:

Hear, here!

a nice little compromise :slight_smile:

: Frank said it well. I agree with him.

: Joe J.

: P.S. Does anyone know if ‘hear, hear!’ or ‘here, here!’ is the appropriate exclamation of agreement? Do tell…

Posted by “MOE”, Coach on team #88, TJ2, from Bridgewater-Raynham Reg. High School and Johnson & Johnson .

Posted on 4/5/99 6:34 PM MST

In Reply to: Hear, hear! (here, here! ?) posted by Joe Johnson on 4/4/99 9:16 PM MST:

: Frank said it well. I agree with him.

: Joe J.

: P.S. Does anyone know if ‘hear, hear!’ or ‘here, here!’ is the appropriate exclamation of agreement? Do tell…

HI JOE
Hope all is well with you and team #47. My team #88 TJ2
will be ready when the time comes. Up in New England we
use HERE / HERE (but what do I know I have not finished
my first 100 years on this earth). I know some think that
I have come from some other PLACE but thats OK. This FRIST
program is realy great for all. So if some one wants to
use HERE/HERE its OK with me. You can just tell them MOE
said its OK. Till we all meet again TA TA for now.
Team #88 TJ2 and MOE

Posted by Tom Vanderslice, Student on team #275, ORHS/AST/Hitachi, from Academy of Science and Technology and Hitachi.

Posted on 4/4/99 9:29 PM MST

In Reply to: Rejections are not in the spirit of the game posted by Frank on 4/4/99 9:04 PM MST:

While I do agree with people that marketing is a big part of the game this
year, I also agree with Frank and Wildstang. The marketing that should go
on at this competition should be the lower seeds marketing themselves to
the higher seeds. The higher seeds shouldn’t have to market to the lower
seeds and prove that they should be their partner. The higher seeds have
already proven themselves. Few real world examples: any professional
sports draft…the person drafted can’t say, ‘You know, I already told
Team XYZ that they could draft me, so you should draft someone else,’ but
the player has every right to not sign a contract with the team who drafts
him…the penalty he pays…he can’t play for a year…he has to sit out
the year and go back through the draft again. A little less serious
example that us non-athletic robotics type people (hey don’t get mad,
i’m one too) can relate to is ‘choosing sides’ on the playground, you don’t
tell one captain that you already told the other captain he could pick you…
it just isn’t done that way.

Well anyway, another 2 cents from
Tom
Team 275

Posted by Daniel, Student on team #192, Gunn Robotics Team, from Henry M Gunn Senior High School and NASA Ames.

Posted on 4/5/99 12:54 AM MST

In Reply to: Re: Rejections are not in the spirit of the game posted by Tom Vanderslice on 4/4/99 9:29 PM MST:

I think you underestimate FIRST. Just because what they do in sports works, you can’t assume that FIRST wouldn’t come up with something better. Here’s my opinion:

After only 6 QMs, the top 16 seeds won’t necessarily be the top 16 robots, and even if by some chance they are, the robots certainly won’t be in the correct order. The process FIRST has devised allows for the most deserving of the top 16 to pair with the most deserving of the non-qualified 'bots. This eliminates the randomness of the seeding process. Besides, just because a team isn’t seeded in the top 16, that doesn’t mean they aren’t one of the best robots. A very good defensive robot could be seeded 63rd and still well deserve to do a little choosing of it’s own. It all depends on how you play. But I digress, the point I was trying to bring across was that you shouldn’t focus too much on the downsides, because when you don’t it becomes clear that FIRST was implemented this rule with the deliberate attempt at making the game fair, which is really the main issue. Don’t you think?

One last thing: we’ve done this before, maybe this time we can follow through and not let this thread die prematurely just to be resurrected in a week.

FIRST, if you’re out there…good job!

-Daniel Lehrbaum
GRT Student Co-Captain

Posted by Michael Betts, Engineer on team #177, Bobcat Robotics, from South Windsor High School and International Fuel Cells.

Posted on 4/5/99 6:53 PM MST

In Reply to: Rejections are not in the spirit of the game posted by Frank on 4/4/99 9:04 PM MST:

: So here are my thoughts on the whole situation. I went to the Detriot
: regional with WildStang and helped them with some strategy stuff. I was
: there when they were denied over and over again. I was there when a
: team came up and said ‘Do not pick us, we already have an alliance with
: a lower seeded team.’ And all that time, I thought how unlike the
: spirit of FIRST that Dean and Woodie always talk about that behavior
: really was. If you make it to the top, you should be able to pick
: the robot that will best compliment yours…WildStang was seeded second
: and got their thrid or fourth choice of a teammate. It was a great robot
: nonetheless, but not the one that the strategy group had picked as the
: best match. A lower team got an advantage by picking a ‘better’ team.

: You have to remember that by denying teams so that a lower seeded team
: can have a better alliance with robots that ‘work together’ and higher
: seeded team will get shafted.

: My basic point is that if you are good enough to make it to the top, you
: should be able to pick your partner. And the only way someone should be
: able to deny you should be if they choose not to be in the finals (i.e.
: their robot is broken, etc). Teams in the bottom group should be
: honored to go with whatever team chooses them.

: That’s my take on it…I think it will be a lot more friendly that way.

: Frank Bentley
: Team 97 MIT/CRLS '99
: Team 111 WildStang '96-'98

I’ve been reading the talk on this subject for quite a while now and I
suppose that it’s time to put my two cents in.

In my opinion, I have to agree with Frank, Bill and Joe (et al). It
would be far better to not allow rejections, for any reason, during the
draft process. For all the reasons already stated, it’s fairer and
simpler for all concerned.

A top seeded team still needs to do it’s homework. They have to scout
and rank the other teams. They also need to meet with potential partners
to insure that they have working robots at the end of the seeding rounds
and would be willing (if not downright enthusiastic) to enter into an
alliance with them.

However, I also have an obligation to do the best by my team. If the
rules stay as they are now, my team will, in all probability, continue
to seek pre-arranged alliances.

I have a love/hate attitude toward the whole alliance concept.

There is no doubt that it has opened communication lines between teams
to a new level. Gone are the days when teams cover their robot between
matches and it’s a whole lot easier to get close up pics (with narrative
explanations!) of those interesting subsystems.

Conversely, it also dilutes a team’s resources at the contest. The
Bobcats will have a dedicated “marketing and strategic planning” team
at Orlando to “sell our product” and woo potential partners.

I will be a member of that team.

Did I mention that I really despise salesmen?

Posted by Daniel, Student on team #192, Gunn Robotics Team, from Henry M Gunn Senior High School and NASA Ames.

Posted on 4/5/99 11:57 PM MST

In Reply to: Re: Rejections are not in the spirit of the game posted by Michael Betts on 4/5/99 6:53 PM MST:

Please respond to my post, I’m interested to hear what you have to say about it.

Link follows…

-Daniel