On March 23rd 2006, Robocode tanks roll into Tipperary Institute for the Robocode Ireland Programming competition, sponsored by Lenovo. Students from third level colleges around the country will battle for the ICS Robocode Challenge Trophy.

Previous Robocode Ireland finals have featured Tank displays from the Irish Military and the event has also been supported by Air Corps Irish “Robot of Destruction” team. Unlike the real-life destruction machines, Robocode is a game where teams use Java, a programming language, to control robot tanks that battle with each other. The little graphical tanks need to be cleverly programmed to avoid being hit and smart enough to move around an arena without any kind of manual control. All of their intelligence is part of a single Java file, designed by the students. The arena is a large computer monitor that is projected onto a wall. Everyone can see the ruthless robots at work, including information about the energy level and radar scanning capability of each robot.

During the past three months, third level colleges and university students have made perfect “battle bots” with on-board intelligence to maneuver and fire on screen. The Robocode competition appeals to first year programming students. “It is intended as an opportunity for fresher years to demonstrate their programming abilities,” said James Greenslade, Director of ICT Department at Tipperary Institute. The best Robot Tanks from colleges and universities will battle to the finish in Thurles in an event sponsored by Lenovo, ICS, PCRealm, Micromail, Sun, Stakelums Office Supplies, Pearson Education, Powerballs and the Digital Hub.

This year’s exciting competition will again feature “Pit Tanks” developed by special guests from the BT Young Scientist Competition. This years pit tanks are developed by Emmet Kilberd and Andrew Lionie, John Scottus Secondary School, with their project on optimisation of code, Patrick Collison, BT Young Scientist 2005, Peter Benilov’s “Robocode Targeting” project, Castletroy College. There will also be a number of exhibits from BT Young Scientists. Secondary level schools are welcome to attend and should pre-book by contacting Rita Clohessy, in the ICT Department, on 0504 28250 or email robocode_team@tippinst.ie as places are limited. Attending schools can get involved in the gaming and brain teaser competitions thought the day. Full details for the event can be found on the Robocode website located at http://www.robocode.ie. Schools attending will also be included in a number of the competitions and draws taking place during the event.

When the RoboCode final is played out in front of a cheering audience on 23rd March, it will provide the National Showcase for Irish third level programming students, with the smarts to qualify for the finals. So “Let’s get ready to RUMBLE!!” in Tipperary Institute at the Robocode 2006 Programming Competition.

About Tipperary Institute
Tipperary Institute, one of Ireland’s newest and most innovative third level colleges first opened its doors to full-time students in 1999. It is a dual campus Institute with campuses located in Clonmel and Thurles. Three departments form the backbone of the Institute’s academic programmes: Business, Information & Communications Technology (ICT) and Rural Development. All programmes are HETAC accredited and a work placement module forms an integral part of each programme.

About Robocode
RoboCode is an annual 1st year Full Time Undergraduate 3rd level Programming Competition. Robot tanks, written in Java, battle each other for the title of RoboMarshall. Students from Colleges and Universities throughout Ireland will take part in a National Robocode Final in Tipperary Institute on March 23rd 2006.