[robocup-humanoid] Important news and updates from the Technical Committee regarding rules, submissions and the league's communication channels

Maike Paetzel maike.paetzel at it.uu.se
Sat Oct 19 01:39:15 EDT 2019

Dear Humanoid League,

This e-mail contains important updates from the Technical Committee about the league's communication channel as well as the upcoming RoboCup, rule updates and the submission process.

== Communication Channels ==
For this year, we will have three main communication channels for the league which all serve different purposes.

  1.  Mailing List: The humanoid mailing list is used for announcements, both by the Technical Committee but teams are also welcome to make use of it. If you reply to one of the emails, please only use reply-all if this is a relevant question or information for everyone. If you want to discuss implications for or a situation with a certain team, please send these requests to the Technical Committee (rc-hl-tc at lists.robocup.org<mailto:rc-hl-tc at lists.robocup.org>) and not the entire email list.
  2.  Forum (https://hl.forum.robocup.org): The Forum is the main channel used for discussions. The Technical Committee uses it for rule- and roadmap discussions, but we would also like to encourage teams to engage in conversations about hardware, software or any other RoboCup related matter. The forum is our medium of choice for the rule discussions because it allows new teams or new team members to easily find discussions which happened prior to them joining the league. It also makes it possible to search for and keep different conversation topics in order. Thus, all questions and discussions that you have that might be relevant for other teams as well should be posted in the forum so everyone interested will be able to find them.

One specific topic apart from the rules that the Technical Committee is currently looking for input on is the development of a revised or new team communication protocol: https://hl.forum.robocup.org/t/discussion-future-for-communication-protocol/350

  1.  Discord *new*: The Technical Committee decided to open the Discord Channel to the entire league. You can join the channel using this link: https://discord.gg/uUcu7xz
The Discord channel is meant for quick questions to the Technical Committee and to allow for easier exchange between the teams. The Technical Committee will not engage in rule discussions on the Discord channel, in case those are brought up they will be directed to the forum. However, we want to use this as an opportunity to lower the barrier for people to get in touch with the Technical Committee. Although you are always welcome to contact us via e-mail, you can now also message individual members of the Technical Committee and ask questions about RoboCup, the league or the work in the Technical Committee.

== Meeting Minutes ==
To make the work of the Technical Committee more transparent, we decided to make a (shortened) version of our internal meeting minutes available to the league. They will be published in the respective forum thread: https://hl.forum.robocup.org/c/robocup/minutes
Questions are very welcome and can be posted in the forum as well.

The meeting minutes from the team leader meetings at the last RoboCup will be published within the next days in the forum as well.

== Review Process ==
For the first time, teams who are applying to participate in the Humanoid Soccer Competition will be asked to peer-review the submission of two other teams from within their own sub-league. Every team will thus receive five reviews in total this year: Two reviews from other teams, two from Technical Committee members and one meta-review.

Participation in the peer-review process is obligatory and the failure to provide the required reviews on time will be negatively considered in the teams own application. You will receive more information about this process during the application process.

== Rule Updates ==
As part of the RoadMap discussions, the league suggested to have the voting on rule updates more decoupled from the RoboCup competition, but also to be more involved in the voting on the actual implementation of the rules. Thus, the Technical Committee decided on the following process to update the rules for 2020:

*Until November 11th: Discussion phase*
The forum is open to suggestions for new rules, suggestions for rule updates and related discussions until November 11th. We really hope that teams do participate in this process and make concrete suggestions on how the rules could be updated for next year. But please also comment on existing suggestions, otherwise it is difficult to know for us and others what could be potential disadvantages we haven't considered yet.

*November 15th to 29th: Voting phase*
The Technical Committee will implement all rule suggestions and if applicable all alternatives to one rule suggestion and compile a voting form that will be sent out to the teams on November 15th. Note: The voting form will be sent out to the team's contact person from the RoboCup 2019 submission. Teams are only allowed to vote once and we will ask for identifying information as part of the voting process to ensure that teams do not get to vote multiple times. However, these information will be removed as soon as the integrity of the votes have been ensured. If your team participated in several sub-leagues last year, you will have one vote per league you participated in.

*December 9th: Release of the rulebook*
The results of the voting process and the rule book will be released on December 9th. Please note that minor changes may occur afterwards, if inconsistencies occur or the local tournaments in Spring suggest that some of the rules are not working as intended. However, these may only be minor and will not change the substance of the rulebook as released in December.

== Introduction of new Leagues: Humanoid Open Competition and Humanoid Research Demonstration ==
As some of you might have already noticed in the Call for Participation, the Humanoid League will be divided into a total of three leagues this year: Humanoid Soccer Competition (size classes Kid and Adult), Humanoid Open Competition (size classes Kid and Adult), and the Humanoid Research Demonstration.

The *Humanoid Soccer Competition* is the 'regular' tournament we had in the past years, with some major updates to the organization: The Drop-In games will now all be played on the first day of the tournament and will be used for seeding. If enough teams participate in a size class (we expect this to happen in KidSize), the class will be divided into Division A and Division B based on the Drop-In games. They will then play an independent tournament. In case we only have one division in a size class, we will use the Drop-In results for the Round Robin seeding.
Note that we will discontinue TeenSize in 2020 - the height restrictions for both KidSize and AdultSize have been adjusted and thus the TeenSize robots will now be allowed to either play in KidSize or AdultSize.

In addition, we will introduce two new leagues: The *Humanoid Open Competition* will allow all bipedal walking robots to play soccer in two size classes (KidSize and AdultSize). The league will play with a simplified set of rules which we are currently finalizing within the Technical Committee. This league will allow researchers working with robots who are not compliant with the Humanoid Soccer Competition rules to participate in the competition, but may also be an entry level for new teams who are not yet able to play a soccer game with the advanced set of FIFA rules.
In the *Humanoid Research Demonstration*, we invite all researchers to showcase robot hardware or software relevant to the humanoid league. No full robot is required and we specifically encourage novel and in-progress work to be demonstrated.

== RCF Support for Projects for Advancing RoboCup ==
As in the previous year, the RoboCup Federation financially supports activities for advancing RoboCup. The deadline for submissions is November 1st. For details, please see the Call for Participation sent around by April Foster. In the previous years, we sometimes had projects being rejected or significantly delayed due to very similar project proposals from within the same league. Thus, the Technical Committee would like to ask everyone who has a project idea to contact us first and send us a few lines about your project. In case we will receive similar project ideas, we will get you in touch before the deadline so you can see if you either want to collaborate on a joint proposal or make sure you state the differences between your proposals.

The project proposals we currently know about and where contribution is still very welcome are the following:

  1.  Monitoring and moderating network communication: Developing a logging and filtering system that can automatically prevent teams from breaking certain rules (like sending data from penalized robots) and that enables the Technical Committee to investigate issues brought up about game interference.
  2.  Streaming: We would like to extend the streams that we were providing last year, and if possible work on a hardware and software solution that can be used by all soccer leagues to stream their games.
  3.  Tournament Management System: The current submission system shall be turned into a tournament management system that can be used to create the competition schedule and generate result overviews, among others
  4.  Dataset Collection: This projects aims at collecting, synchronizing and labelling game data, including messages sent by the robots, events from the GameController and videos of the RoboCup games.
If you want to collaborate on one of the projects or have input or ideas, please write an e-mail to the Technical committee or talk to Maike or Ludovic on Discord.

== Mentoring ==
This year, we would like to assign a mentoring team to each new team entering the Humanoid League. We know that entering RoboCup can be challenging at times, because there is a lot of knowledge about competitions that established teams have that are unknown to new teams. The mentoring team should help the new team when they have questions, but they could, for example, also share their travel packing list or preparation checklist for RoboCup before coming to the tournament and make sure the new team has some initial connections during their first days at RoboCup. This is not meant as a huge time commitment and the exact relationship can be determined by the two paired teams individually. Please consider if you would be willing to serve as a mentoring team next year. We will ask that question in the application form.

Maike and Ludovic (for the RoboCup Humanoid Technical

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