TopCoder Community and Platform Power 2011 Zero Robotics SPHERES Competition for NASA & DARPA

Software Community Builds Competition Platform for High School Students Challenged to Conduct Experiments with Satellites Aboard the International Space Station

GLASTONBURY, Conn., June 20, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- TopCoder, Inc. today announced that the company is working with MIT Space Systems Lab and Aurora Flight Sciences under the sponsorship of NASA and DARPA to create the Zero Robotics competition - a student software competition that takes "arena robotics" to new heights. The robots are miniature satellites called SPHERES, (Synchronized Position Hold Engage and Reorient Experimental Satellites), and the final tournament is aboard the International Space Station. The goal is to build critical engineering skills for students, such as problem solving, design thought process, operations training and team work. The top 27 teams will have their code sent to the station where an astronaut will program the SPHERES satellites to run their tests.


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TopCoder's expertise in the world of online programming competitions that deliver high quality software has been used to create a custom platform and interface designed to make students' ideas for experiments become reality and to inspire future scientists and engineers so that they will view working in space as "normal", and will grow up pushing the limits of engineering and space exploration.

Teams are required to register before September 5th, 2011 at: http://zerorobotics.mit.edu/.

Zero Robotics will open the state of the art research facilities on the International Space Station (ISS) to high-school students who will actually write programs at their High School that may control a satellite in space. The competition will require students to develop an understanding of how to make these satellites work together by flying in formations and physically connecting, or docking. Such swarms of satellites could be used to create giant telescope mirrors in space with nano-meter precision and assemble future space stations without the need for human spacewalks.

"This is an exciting expansion on an existing program from MIT designed to create new growth and increase access to the nation's high school science students," said Rob Hughes, president and COO of TopCoder, Inc. "TopCoder's virtual community and platform expertise allows us to ramp up the Zero Robotics program to new levels of capacity quickly and effectively."

About TopCoder, Inc.

TopCoder is the world's largest competitive software development community with nearly 300,000 developers representing over 200 countries. TopCoder hosts the largest and most comprehensive developer ratings and performance metrics available. The TopCoder community builds software for a wide-ranging client base through a competitive, rigorous, standards based methodology. This methodology results in a highly consistent set of software components allowing a software-as-parts approach to application development. TopCoder makes this large library of software components built through competition available to all of our clients. Utilizing a world-wide member base and this library, TopCoder seeks to lower the cost of software development while increasing both the speed at which applications can be developed and the quality of the ultimate application. For more information about sponsoring TopCoder events and utilizing TopCoder's software services and platforms, visit www.topcoder.com.

TopCoder is a registered trademark of TopCoder, Inc. in the United States and other countries. All other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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