The Wumpus Among Us

by Mary Martialay on January 3, 2012


Rensselaer recently hosted its 14th annual wumpus competition (officially titled the “Lego Robot Roundup”). The competition is the final project for students enrolled in the freshman Minds & Machines class and is a good chance for them to display newly acquired skills in deductive reasoning. Students build and program a robot to grab a bag of gold from the cave of the wumpus who – for those of you who didn’t know – is an evil monster. The unique course is offered through the Rensselaer Cognitive Science Department.

By a cave, what I actually mean is a 4×4 grid painted on a piece of plywood. The robot travels from square to square using clues like a “stench” and a “breeze” (delivered to the robot “brain” as signals transferred via remote control) to deduce the presence of both the wumpus, and a couple of “bottomless holes” also scattered around the cave.

Well, all of this is far more clear in the video – check it out!