Monday, July 13, 2009

Day 4,5 – Visit to pyramids and World festival

On day 4 of the Imagine Cup 2009 an excursion to pyramids and Sphincs were arranged. it was a great opportunity to visit and see the giant ancient structures.
On the way we could see the suburban of Cairo. In our terms the houses are really funny shaped. And you may noticed that most of the houses are left uncompleted. We got to learn that if you completely buit the house you have to pay extra tax. Very funny.
Great Pyramids of Giza.DSC05961
Day 5 was the memorable day. The world festival. The event was organized as a truly amazing way on the panorama of the great pyramids. It was really a memorable day.
For more details on winners please refer to Imagine Cup blog at,
Official Press Release- 2009 Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals Winners
[Posted using Windows Live Writer on Windows Vista]

Monday, July 6, 2009

Day 3 – Fat and Greasy battles…


Today is the day 3 of the Imagine Cup 2009 world finals. The Big big battle day.

All the competitors had completed their coding. (And by the we learned that Gauna, the fellow competitor who was sick and had been working from his room had to fly back to his country. Anyway his robot will play on behalf of him)

There were battles organized between each player. (So altogether 15 battles) Each battle would consists of 3 matches which each consists of 3 rounds of 60 seconds in length. If you beat the opponent in more number of rounds you win the match. If you beat the opponent in more number of matches you win the battle. A win in a battle give 3 points,  tie is given 1 point for each and loose is 0 points.

Apart from that each participant were given a bonus mark of up to 3 depending on their achievement with the real robots. Byron and Gauna were awarded 3 points each and all the other were given 1 point for this task.

So at the end the leader board was as follows.      

Competitor Name Country Battles Wins Ties Defeats Score
Pablo Gauna
Argentina 5 1 0 4 +6
Byron Knoll (Yokozuna) Caneda 5 4 0 1 +15
Fuming Lin (ZeroLin) China 5 3 0 2 +10
Imrich Zivcak (Goldie) Czech Republic 5 1 0 4 +4
Lukas Perutka (Srotbot) Czech Republic 5 4 0 1 +13
Pramuditha Aravinda (QUT0268) Sri Lanka 5 2 0 3 +7

We also had a fun session with the robots after the end of the competition.

Hmm so that’s it. But anyway I was presented with the robot that I was playing with considering my achievements so far. Wow… I like you Robbie…

Competition Update:

Our embedded team and Software design team has been ended up in top 12. Here I have been to 4th place. Now we are keeping our faith regarding the Mash Up team to have a big big prize whose results will be released on world festival on 7th.

[Note: This post will be updated with photos and videos once processed)

[Posted using Windows Live writer on Windows 7 RC]

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Day 2 – 24 Hours hectic programming…

Today is the start of the competition day. Hmm 24 hours of continuous time to compete. Had to rush trough competition check in before repeat competitor briefing since it was really late when we arrived yesterday.
We were given a new version of the Sumo challenger to code. And were explained that the competition will be hosted in simulation environment for the fairness for all the competitors and in addition we were given real physical robots to play with and to create a robot that can do a particular action to a vision stimulus. That would be a mandatory challenge that would give few more bonus points.
Real robots ready to play.
I’m coding and playing with the real robots.
Even this is a 24 ours continuous competition, competitors were allowed to have their time. It was even allowed to go out of the competition hall and have a rest at your hotel room or even work from there.
The most apparent change in the new challenge kit is that it mimics the real robots behavior. now robots do rarely go over other.
So Let’s see back on next day. Big Big battle day!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Imagine Cup 2009. Day 1 - Beginning of a 26 1/2 hours day

Today is the day 1 of Imagine Cup world finals 2009. This time it will be held in the birthplace of the civilization - Cairo, Egypt. Here we are all set to fly to Egypt.
Now since the Cairo is at GMT +3 and we are flying there today will be a 26 1/2 hour day. How many times had we wished that we have more than 24 hours a day? But unfortunately we had to waste about 8 hours in the air (not to forget the additional time spend on damn security clearances etc etc. Ah and of course flights changing the terminal and being delayed)
Ah did I mentioned wasting time in air? Well it's not a total loss since flying with emirates. We really enjoyed few movies while on the sky. And two heartiest meals.
See you again at the big day of the battle. Brrr I need to have a sleep now. :-P
N.B. I’ll update this post again with images later when I collect the photos of our team on the way.
[Posted using windows live writer on Windows 7 RC]

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Netflix Challenge enters “last call” for the grand prize.


As of the submission by team "BellKor's Pragmatic Chaos" on June 26, 2009 18:42:37 UTC, the Netflix Prize competition entered the "last call" period for the Grand Prize. Netflix is a data mining/Collaborative filtering optimization challenge where participants are challenged to device a recommendation system which can beat the Netflix owned world-class movie recommendation system: CinematchSM by an accuracy of 10% improvement.

In accord with the Rules, teams have thirty (30) days, until July 26, 2009 18:42:37 UTC, to make submissions that will be considered for this Prize. After this time period the submissions will be considered for the grand prize and the winning team will be awarded a cash prize of 1,000,000 US$.


[Posted Using Windows Live Writer on Windows Vista]

Monday, June 22, 2009

MRDS 2008 R2 is released


A new version of Robotics Developer Studio (RDS), called the R2 release, has been released for download. RDS 2008 R2 includes the new DSS Log Analyzer, several additional sensors in simulation, Software Quality Metrics, and various other bug fixes and documentation enhancements.

Express version of the product can be downloaded from the product site at There is also an upgrade kit for the Standard edition is available. It is also said that the Academic version is also rolled out to the MSDNAA but couldn’t see it to checkout in either Imagine Cup MSDNAA account or ACM MSDNAA account.smile_thinking Neither could be found in the (Admin)page containing full list of .sdc files. Hopes it would be available soon in either of those places. smile_regular

[Posted Using Windows Live Writer on Windows 7 Beta]

Saturday, June 20, 2009

How the things went on Mars…

Follow up to the Post:Landed on Mars. Chase for the water begins…
You all know that I have being selected as a world finalist in this year Imagine Cup Robotics and Algorithms and probably would be glad to see my Robot’s working at Endurance Crater, Mars.
Well I have being thinking to post this video a long time but had to always postpone due to various reasons. So Enjoy it now!
[Posted Using Windows Live Writer on Windows Vista]

Monday, June 8, 2009

Imagine Cup Finalists announced. This time 4 teams from LK


Well I accept that this news is bit old. But I was on a bit of busy schedule on past few days, had to relocate since our hostel period was over, finalizing and submitting final year project reports etc.

However it’s glad to see that this time we have 4 teams from the island (he he including me-one man team) participating in Imagine cup. The Finalist teams are,

image Software Design – Team : Mahee – Project : MISEEFA – Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology

image Embedded Development – Team : SAS_EN – University of Moratuwa, Faculty of Information Technology

image Robotics & Algorithms – Aravinda DPsmile_shades - University of Moratuwa, Department of Computer Science and Engineering

image Mash Up – Team : Sasrutha – Project : Hope for Poor - University of Moratuwa, Faculty of Information Technology.

Hmm sad that we have lost the hold on short film this time.smile_thinking

Good luck for everybody and let’s bring glory to or motherland.thumbs_up

More Info

Monday, May 25, 2009

Visual Studio 2010 and .NET 4.0 Unveiled.


The next version of .NET framework and the corresponding development environment – namely Visual Studio 2010 has been released for the beta testing.

The newly included features include Enhanced User Experience, more IDE support for Parallel Programming with parallel debugging windows and profiling views. support for design and share multiple diagram types, including use case, activity and sequence diagrams, A high-performance and standards-compliant JavaScript IntelliSense® engine for web development, Out of the box support for Cloud Development with Windows Azure™ Tools for Visual Studio, and in built support for IBM DB2 and Oracle databases in addition to Microsoft SQL Server™ databases and much more.

Hmm… So should I pick the Laptop and go to a wi-fi hotspot in the university in midnight or wait till tomorrow and put it in DSL link at corporate place?smile_shades

For more details:

Visual Studio 2010 Portal:

Visual Studio 2010 Professional Beta ISO Download

[Posted using Windows Live Writer on Windows 7 Beta]

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Imagine Cup 2010 to be hosted in Poland.


Well this news is bit old. I had read the news article at a quite a while ago but missed out the statement. “Yesterday in Warsaw, Poland, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced that the Imagine Cup 2010 Finals will take place in Poland, a country with a track record of producing highly skilled IT students as well as successful Imagine Cup entrants.”

And it seems Microsoft might have tightened the Agenda for the world final from 3rd-9th to 3rd-7th of July. (Financial crisis?). smile_confused Brrr That leaves out my opportunity have few extra leaves from the working place.

[Posted Using Windows Live Writer on Windows 7 Beta]

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Windows 7 RC goes public.

Follow up to the post [Drum Roll…] Here Comes Windows 7…


Microsoft has released the RC of Windows 7 which is the next version of Windows OS family to the public today. Furthermore Microsoft have removed the limitation of number of available copies under the RC program and downloads will be available trough June.

For more details,

[Posted using Windows Live Writer on Windows 7 Beta]

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Google Similar Images. Since a picture worth 1000+ words.

Google has recently launched the Google Similar Images feature which is an experimental service from Google Labs that lets you find images that are similar with an image you select. For example if you do a Image search for “Jaguar”  You might receive something like below.
Now If you meant about the ‘cat’ You could click On Similar Images. (Notice the similar features of the images. Background color etc..)
Or more pictures of the brand of car. (Notice the similar features of the images. Background color Car orientation, Color etc… In fact all are different versions of same image…)image
Well That’s the example of Google themselves. Now I’m going to do few of my own searches.
Hmm well what does I search? Since I was fond of flowers recentlysmile_wink let’s try some flowers.
Search for Water Lily.
Now If I wanted to see Pink Water Lily (නෙළුම් මල්). (In fact single pink water lily on mostly dark back ground.)
or White water Lily (ඕලු මල්) (In fact single white water lily on mostly dark back ground.)
It’s very easy.
Now If I was looking for pictures with only one Pink water Lily it would be really difficult with just Image search.
Now Let’s try about Cherry blossom flowersmile_wink
Hmm I think I like to have similar Images to 1st results. (Single cherry blossom flower on white back ground.)
Well 1st 2 pictures are OK. but rest? Well in fact it seems there are no any similar pictures of my cherry blossom flower and considering the image features we may consider the rest is similar to cherry blossom flowers. After all Google bots are just poor bots.
Hmm So what next? Well I do really like to have a feature that would let us to upload our own Image to Google and do a Similar Image search.smile_nerd
Hard at play in Google Labs with Similar Images and Google News Timeline
Google Similar Images
[Posted using Windows Live Writer on Windows 7 Beta]

Monday, April 20, 2009

Landed on Mars. Chase for the water begins…


Today the list of competitors advanced for the Imagine Cup Robotics and algorithms were published. Hmm It seems 237 are on chase for the water on Mars.smile_speedy

Top 20 Countries are as follows…

TW : 39
CN : 31
FR : 23
HU : 19
US : 16
KR : 10
BR : 9
DE : 8
IN : 8
RU : 6
PH : 5
PL : 5
EG : 5
CZ : 4
AU : 4
JP : 3
DZ : 3
CH : 3
LK : 3
AR : 3

So… Now It’s a matter of water or death.smile_tongue

[Posted using Windows Live Writer on Windows 7 Beta]

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Проект Эйнштейна (Project Einstein) – Eyes Only


Every time I do some silly mistake I would normally wish that I could go back in time and compensate the mistake. Well can we really go back in time?

There are lot of really complex theories regarding this matter. However the most prominent idea has been (IMO) has been the dimensional physics. And today I’m here with results of my latest experiments at Loss Molpes Laboratory for Advanced Technologies.smile_nerd

I’ll explain the theory behind this as simple as possible. First Consider about what we can identify. In 3 dimension we can change the position along the 4th dimension or time axis when we apply a force. Now how can we travel along the 4 dimensional space time curve? Really simple. What you need to do is applying the same theory. But this wont do with normal force. What you need is the higher order counter part of the force we will call it a meta force.

But you should understand that even though you travelled along the time but at the same space you can’t materialize in that previous space time point. I’m not yet completely clear about why it’s so. May be that’s because of consequences of space time continuum or effect of parallel universe. However you can use the normal force fields of that past time space points. For example electromagnetic fields etc…

Hmm pretty much boring right? Well here I’ll show you some solid proof. (Well It’s not rock solid as I cannot materialize in the past) Go here and see my post on Feb 7th. Well what’s the catch? it just contains few questions from a exam paper. Except that it is from a paper which actually held few days later. clockI had travelled back in time and posted it using wi-fi. Bad that nobody read my posts. Otherwise you all guys could have obtain A+. Now wanna know something from future?

[Posted using Windows Live Writer on Windows 7 Beta]

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Imagine Cup Robotics Round 2 mission released… Wild goose chasing at Endurance crater, Mars…


Follow up to the post In to the Mars – Neck breaking Opportunity.


On last Friday (27th) challenge kit for the Robotics and algorithms round 2 was released. As it was expected this is re-launch of Mars challenge that was held as part of Robochamps league. But this time the simulation environment is more responsive and the task is bit more spiced up with collecting the data from rocks using a spectrometer.


The sensors we have access includes color Navigation camera, Panoramic camera installed on the ‘head’ of the rover and two B&W hazard avoidance cameras on front and rear of the rover. Spectrometer which is in fact physically a touch sensor and a comlink which can be used to obtain the Pan, roll and pitch of the Rover as well as GPS location and some mission details (Positions of navigation areas)

The drives available includes Horizontal and vertical rotation of head, A Six wheel differential drive, articulated arm on which the spectrometer is attached on the end.

The objective is to navigate trough the given 6 points. Analyze a rock from each area and reach the heat shield. The navigation includes descending into the crater as well similar to the real Opportunity mission at Endurance crater.

The navigation points are obtainable from the comlink interface however the position that the heat shield dropped is bit of random and cannot be known for certain. So it ultimately becomes a wild goose chase to find out the heat shield. Even though it is said to be near the last selected point in practice it appeared to be near means almost half across the map.smile_tongue

With few days of experiments and coding I was able to come up with a solution that could navigate all the points successfully and analyze the required data.smile_nerd However I would certainly have to improve this solution with better algorithms and more reliability and or adaptability over the time. But no problem I have plenty of time left even till the challenge officially start on 20th of April.clock


More details.

[Posted using Windows Live Writer on Windows 7 Beta]

Monday, March 2, 2009

In to the Mars – Neck breaking Opportunity.


Since the Imagine Cup Robotics & Algorithm competition Round 1 deadline is extended till April 1st I had decided to go and give a try on the Robochamps previous challenges. So I decided to give a try in the Mars Challenge which seems to be very interesting.

The sample kit is provided only with a VPL solution. However it is not a big deal converting a VPL diagram to C# code I first converted the VPL diagram into a C# solution and started developing an entry.

The environment and the robot recreates a scenario experienced by Opportunity, one of NASA’s real rovers in the Endurance Crater. There are 6 Navigation points that we should visit and finally we must reach the heat shield to complete the mission.smile_nerd

The obstacles are the rocks that are scattered over the terrain and safely maneuvering into the crater. The sensors available are A Navigation camera, Panoramic camera and two hazard avoidance cameras in front and rear. There is also a GPS data from the Communication link. So as an start I designed a solution which uses only the GPS data and travels the navigation points in sequence. The problem with this is the rower may hit a rock or stuck in the crater forever.

Following is the video footage of test run. Well fortunately there wasn’t any rocks on the path and even though the rover rolled into the crater in a neck breaking way finally it landed on correctly.smile_tongue

Hmm I think I should be bit more careful with a multi million dollar scientific robot like this.smile_wink Well let’s see how we can improve this more later..

[Posted using Windows Live Writer on Windows 7 Beta]

Monday, February 16, 2009

Viewing PowerPoint Presentations on LG KU250.


On last Saturday the provincial elections on North Western and Central Province were held. Being it in the middle of a exam season I did not had much of a enthusiasm to cast my vote but anyway my parents suggested me to have a visit if any means. Well I had no objections other than the fact that I will loss almost a whole day on the road in which time I could go trough some lecture slides.smile_thinking

OK there is possibilities to read while travelling. Printing slides, Reading on the laptop or on a ‘Smart’ I didn't feel like printing it just for a one day use. (Not because of Green IT but I’m not a fan of papers) neither I wished to carry my heavy weight laptop. I’m not wealthy enough to have a ‘Smart’ phone either.

But I figured out that I can save my PowerPoint slides as .jpg images so that I can have a look on the go in my LG KU250. So yet you can read office docs (with some conversions) on your non ‘Smart’ phone if you are smart enough. smile_nerd


And yet I can do multitasking as well. Listening to some music and/or browsing the web… As I always say It’s freaking brilliant. So then I have found one more usage of my beloved mobile phone..smile_regular and I could read some slides on the way back and forth home.


[Posted using Windows Live Writer on Windows 7 Beta]

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Using the spare laptop as a secondary monitor.


Yeah.. I’m all about multiple monitors. Which means more work space, more windows visible and… increased productivity. This comes very handy when doing something like Video editing or in my context MRDS programming. smile_nerd

And today most of us generally have a Desktop as well as a laptop. Now using the monitor of the desktop as a secondary display for the laptop is not a big deal. But suppose you need to do the other way round i.e. need to use the laptop screen as a secondary display device for the desktop PC.

Well there are few tools for this purpose. MaxiVista which is a commercial tool works as a separate monitor driver on your PC and extends the desktop to another PC/Spare laptop over the LAN. ZoneScreen which is a freeware developed by Vasily Tarasov can be also used to mirror or extend the desktop to another PC/Spare laptop over the LAN.

Extending the Desktop to a second monitor

First we need to add a second monitor (Virtually) to the PC. In Windows 7 (Should be similar to Vista) Right click on desktop –> Screen resolution –> Detect


Multiple displays -> Connect anyway-> Apply

Again Multiple displays –> Extend these displays –> Apply

Select the appropriate resolution for the secondary display.

Run the ZoneScreen Configuration wizard and select the display you want to stream over the LAN.


You can run the same wizard in the client mode on the spare desktop/laptop and connect to the server to view it’s display.


And now I can work with more windows at once. Freaking brilliant! smile_party


Simultaneously viewing code window and VSE on MRDS

Since the desktop is captured, streamed over the LAN and recreated at the destination end this is generally ideal for the static text windows. But it is quite acceptable for small sized videos as well. Following shows the screen recording of a video on physical monitor. Video Source :

Following is the same video as displayed on the laptop monitor.

Although there is not much appreciable difference in the videos it should be noted that these are recorded using a mobile video camera under 15fps QCIF resolution. In practice there is a noticeable performance difference but yet acceptable for normal use.


[Posted using Windows Live Writer on Windows 7 Beta]