XSEDE13 is hosted by

XSEDE, Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment, xsede.org.

In cooperation with

Platinum Sponsors

Intel logo

Gold Sponsors

Cray logo

Penguin Computing logo

IBM and the IBM logo are trademarks of International Business Machines Corp., registered in many jurisdictions worldwide.

Silver Sponsors

Dell logo

Bronze Sponsors

Seneca logo


Non-Profit Silver Sponsors

Computation Institute logo

Non-Profit Bronze Sponsors

National University Logo

Patron Sponsor

Media Sponsor

National Science Foundation logo. XSEDE is supported by the
National Science Foundation

Ready, Set, Robotics!

In conjunction with XSEDE13, this activity is being offered for students in grades 5-8. The course fee is $100, which includes lunch each day. Space is limited to 15 participants. Parents can register their children during the XSEDE13 registration process and will then receive email instructions.

The class will meet July 22-25, 2013, at the Marriott Marquis and Marina (the XSEDE13 conference location) from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (with parent drop-off from 7:30-8 a.m. and parent pick-up between 1 and 1:30 p.m.)

The course will be taught by Kurt Seiffert, Indiana University, and is sponsored by the San Diego Supercomputer Center, UCSD; the Indiana University Pervasive Technology Institute; the National Science Foundation;  and XSEDE.

If you have any questions regarding this workshop or the application process, please contact Ange Mason at 858-534-5064 or amason@ucsd.edu.

Course Overview

Robotics is an exciting, challenging science encompassing many facets of engineering including mechanical, electrical and computer science. This course uses Lego Mindstorm™ Robots to facilitate the understanding of computer programming concepts.  Students will learn to program pre-built robots to do simulate a robotic mission to Mars. Using various infra-red, color, touch, and ultrasonic sensors, students will program the robots to seek out virtual mineral samples and then locate and with a simulated return vehicle.

Course Goals and Learning Objectives

The goal of this course is to provide a strong and creative foundation in computer science. This is a hands-on, team-oriented class with problem solving and algorithm development at its core. Topics include learning about program design, asynchronous event-driven programming, stepwise refinement, sequence, selection, iteration, using functions, and most importantly problem solving skills critical to become a successful computer programmer.  The course will take the students through design, develop and implementation of their programs. This course promises an unforgettable experience!

How the Class Will Be Taught

This course is taught in a combination of group presentation and then intense team-oriented lab participation with instructors. The class structure breaks down the overall task into smaller components. Teams work individually on each sub-task but periodically share and evaluate each other's solutions. This builds a cooperative competition between the teams. The sub-tasks build on one another introducing new programming concepts with each sub-task. Each sub-task is introduced, followed by the teams solving the sub-task, then each team gets a chance to present their solution and have it evaluated. At the end of the class all the sub-tasks will be assembled into the ultimate goal of fulfilling the Mars mission.


  • Must be a current elementary or middle school student in grades 5-8.
  • A basic understanding of computers, including using Windows.


  • Module 1
  • Introduction to Lego Mindstorm NXT
  • Nxt Introduction
  • Nxt Editor
  • Beginning Programming – Moving around on Mars
  • Drive forward, reverse, turn
  • Switches
  • Ultrasonic sensor
  • Module 2
  • Programming - Mineral detection
  • Loops
  • Color sensor
  • Variables
  • Display and sounds
  • Module 3
  • More Programming – Locating return vehicle and docking
  • Infrared sensor
  • Touch sensor
  • Timers
  • Blocks
  • Module 4
  • Final Project – Putting it all together
  • Assembling sub-tasks to perform the mission
  • Team competition