1. What is robotics?
  2. Does it hold a lot of potential?
  3. Who does robotics at ITMO?
  4. How do I take part?
  5. What kind of tasks are there in the Robotics track?
  6. How can I prepare?
  7. What do winners get?

What is robotics?

It’s an applied field connected to the development of automated technical systems. It actually brings together a plethora of other fields, including electronics, engineering, cybernetics, telemechanics, mechatronics, computer science, as well as radio and electrical engineering. This explains why roboticists need to have quite an abundance of different skills. 

Robotics includes many subfields, for instance, with a focus on industrial, medical, construction, or space robots, and roboticists can develop all sorts of devices from simple delivery robots to the most complex robotic surgeons and fully automated factories.

Does it hold a lot of potential?

According to Research and Markets, the global industrial robotics market will reach $31.7 billion by 2024, while the recent Deloitte report states that robotization is most common in banking, finances, as well as the energy and mining industries. Some of the major Russian and international companies (including Amazon, Yandex, and Sber) are also actively investing in the field.

Who does robotics at ITMO?

The university’s Faculty of Control Systems and Robotics has several labs and international centers engaged in the development of robots and creation of algorithms for complex robotic systems. There are departments that primarily work with software, such as the International Laboratory of Geometrical Methods in Control and Application, and others that work more with hardware, including the International Laboratory of Biomechatronics and Energy-Efficient Robotics. Moreover, many students of the faculty are developing their own projects, like Alexey Ledyukov’s active exoskeleton that can easily lift up to 80 kilograms. It is thanks to this expertise that ITMO has been successfully running the Robotics track of the contest for several years.

A lab at the Faculty of Control Systems and Robotics. Photo by Dmitry Grigoryev, ITMO.NEWS

A lab at the Faculty of Control Systems and Robotics. Photo by Dmitry Grigoryev, ITMO.NEWS

How do I take part?

The contest I Am a Professional is open to Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Specialist’s students of Russian universities. Your first step to join it will be to complete the online registration by November 15 and pick the fields you are interested in (in this case, Robotics). You will also need to upload a document confirming that you are a student at a Russian university.

Then, registered participants will take part in the online qualifying round that will take place between November 18 and December 4. On December 27, the results of the first round will be announced and students with the highest scores will pass onto the final round that will last January through April, with winners announced in late April.

What kind of tasks are there in the Robotics track?

Last year’s qualifying round featured ten tasks, nine of which were basic and advanced questions on relevant topics, including computer vision, control of movement in robotic systems, controller design, and so on. The last task cost the greatest number of points and required knowledge of programming of various kinds of robots, like mobile or manipulator ones. 

In the semifinals last year, Bachelor’s students had to write a code to move a robot along a path in the simulator, while in the finals they controlled a quadcopter using visual odometry. In their semifinals, Master’s and Specialist’s students programmed a robot located in a confined space with obstacles, while in the final round they guided a collaborator manipulator robot down a path, taking into account its force of impact with the surface.

All of these tasks aimed to test the participants’ computer vision skills, as well as their ability to calculate a robot’s whereabouts in different coordinates, plan and control their movements, and use their creative engineering skills to solve tasks using different approaches.

A lab at the Faculty of Control Systems and Robotics. Photo by Dmitry Grigoryev, ITMO.NEWS

A lab at the Faculty of Control Systems and Robotics. Photo by Dmitry Grigoryev, ITMO.NEWS

How can I prepare?

One thing you should definitely do is thoroughly study the demos, webinars, and literature from previous years (in Russian). You can also follow the tips from former winners and watch webinars (in Russian) by Sergey Kolyubin, a professor at the Faculty of Control Systems and Robotics, or brush up on your Python, C, and С++.

What do winners get?

All winners will get bonus points when entering Russian universities, as well as receive access to the contest’s career development center, where they will find updates on vacancies and internships at partner companies, online events and tours of various businesses. Additionally, they will get the chance to consult HR experts. 

Moreover, those who take first, second, and third places in each track will receive prize money (between 100,000 and 300,000 rubles depending on their place and level of study) and get to intern at a major Russian company.

Robotics is one of three tracks curated by ITMO in the contest I Am a Professional in partnership with Sberbank. The two other tracks are Programming and Information Technologies and Information and Cyber Security.