Zero Robotics High School Tournament 2013

Official Tournament Rules


The Zero Robotics High School Tournament consists of five main stages:

·         Application

·         2D simulation competition

·         3D simulation competition

·         Alliance formation and semi-finals simulation competition

·         ISS competition.

The contest begins with several simulation competitions held online at the Zero Robotics website that gradually increase in difficulty. Finalists from the online simulation phase will proceed to the ISS, where an astronaut conducts a live competition with the SPHERES satellites and in microgravity! This final ISS event will be hosted at MIT with special audio/video links, and all teams will be invited to attend.


The Zero Robotics High School Tournament 2013 (the “Tournament”) is run by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Space Systems Laboratory, 70 Vassar St., Cambridge, MA 02139 (“MIT”) and TopCoder, Inc., 95 Glastonbury Blvd., Glastonbury, CT 06033 ("TopCoder").  The Tournament is sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and NASA ("Sponsors").  The Tournament is open to teams of U.S. High School students who meet the application criteria and submit a valid application.  The eligibility and rules for the Tournament will be posted at the start of the Tournament.  By participating in the Tournament, each participant agrees to abide by the Tournament rules and to abide by the decisions of the Tournament administrators.

By participating in the Tournament, each participant agrees that under no circumstances, including, but not limited to, negligence, shall TopCoder, MIT, or the Sponsors, or their respective officers, directors, employees, shareholders, agents, successors, and assigns (the "Released Parties") be liable for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, or consequential damages arising out participation in the Tournament, even if any or all of the Released Parties have been advised of the possibility of such damages.


Any accredited high-school or equivalent in the U.S.A. can register a team of students; multiple high-schools can join to form a single team as a "district". All students must be in grades 9-12 registered at an accredited High School or home schooled to an equivalent level. Each team must be between 5-20 students. All schools must provide the teams with at least two computers and have internet access (including access to Flash).

Unless permissions is granted on a case-by-case basis, each high-school/organization may only have one team of 5-20 students. In the case that multiple teams are approved in a single school/organization, then (i) each team must have at least 12 students (ii) the teams must work independently of each other (iii) the teams may not be part of the same alliance (iv) teams may not exchange students at any point during the tournament.

All the students in the teams must create their own Zero Robotics account and the team mentor/leader must create the complete team roster. Only the students registered in the Zero Robotics website team roster will be considered part of the team.

The Tournament has no limit to the number of accepted applications provided they meet the application requirements.

2D "Practice Run"

In order to provide new teams (which we hope to get many!) with sufficient time to learn how to use Zero Robotics, this year the 2D Phase (throughout September) will be a practice run that does not count towards elimination. The elimination phases will start with the 3D simulation during October.

In addition, the team is working to have major revisions of the "tutorials" provided to teams, especially the ones related to programing the SPHERES satellites themselves using the Zero Robotics IDE. These upgrades are planned to be ready by the end of August.


NOTE: The dates listed here are preliminary and subject to change.  We do not anticipate a change of more than a few days to the kickoff and final submission deadlines.

The Tournament begins at 13:00:00 U.S. EDT on 2013-Sep-07 (Sat) and ends at 23:59:59 U.S. EDT on 2013-Dec-15 (Sun) ("Tournament Period").  Registration for the Tournament will start 2013-Apr-24 (Thu) and has been extended until to 2013-Sep-27 (Fri). To be an official competitor you must submit code to the 2D competition on 2013-Sep-29. Participation constitutes Contestant's full and unconditional agreement to and acceptance of these Official Rules. All federal, state, and local laws and regulations apply.

Key dates:

September 7 (Sat)

Kickoff webcast live from MIT


Online simulation competitions

September 29 (Sun)

2D simulation competition deadline (end of "practice") - REQUIRED

October 27 (Sun)

3D simulation competition

November 2 (Sat)

Alliance formation event

December 1 (Sun)

Alliance submission deadline

December 15 (Sun)

ISS Final submission deadline

mid-January 2014

Final Event live from ISS!


Code and documentation submissions that are provided by participants to the web site (“Submissions”) will be shared publicly with all participants after the Tournament.  As a condition of participation, all participants and teams grant to TopCoder, MIT, and the Sponsors a perpetual, royalty-free, irrevocable, non-exclusive license to use, reproduce and publish any and all Submissions and to permit TopCoder, MIT, the Sponsors, and other third parties (including without limitation participants’ teammates, and other teams) to copy, modify, prepare derivative works of, make and use their Submissions.