Archive for September, 2010

World Cup Host Field Starting to Clear Up

Posted by Noel on Tuesday, 28 September, 2010
World-Cup Bid 2018/2022

World-Cup Bid 2018/2022

As was expected by most pundits, the World Cup will take place in Europe in 2018 and in either the US, Australia or Asia in 2022. It appears, based on reports from all camps, that the last remaining holdouts with bids in for both Cups are going to withdraw their secondary bids (US from 2018, England from 2022).

The picture was a little muddier a year ago with FIFA allowing the countries from Europe and abroad to bid for both the 2018 and 2022 tournaments. Because of this, there was a chance, however unlikely, that the 2018 cup could have gone to a country like the US or Australia and that Europe would have had to wait until 2022 to get another World Cup. This was deemed as unlikely by most experts however, as that would have meant that the World Cup would have been away from Europe for 16 years, something that FIFA would not want to do.

So, after the upcoming withdrawals from the US and England the World Cup bidding picture looks like this:

2018 Bid (Europe):

Spain/Portugal (Joint Bid)
Netherlands/Belgium (Joint Bid)

2022 Bid (North America/Asia)

United States
South Korea

Could Robot Soccer Players Beat the World’s Best?

Posted by Noel on Friday, 24 September, 2010

According to Claude Sammut, Robots compete to be the besta computer science professor in Australia, robot soccer players will one day (he thinks by 2050) defeat the best soccer players in the world. As an example of the possibility, he referenced a bet that John McCarthy and Donald Michie made a with then Scottish chess champion, David Levy that a computer could one day beat the best human player in the world at chess. Which did eventually happen.

With that in mind, Sammut is involved in a project called robocup, where robots have been programmed to learn how to play soccer. Here is what he had to say in regards to a team of robots one day defeating the world’s best humans:

“RoboCup aims, by the year 2050, to develop a team of fully autonomous humanoid robots that can win against the human world soccer champion team.

“To achieve this, or come even close, the robots will have to be able to sense and act in completely unstructured environments. This will require major advances in perception, decision making, learning, and co-operative behaviours.

“Not forgetting that robots are integrated hardware and software systems, significant advances will also be needed in sensors, actuators, energy storage, and materials.”

Well, there you have it. But is 40 years enough time? The bet referenced above stated that the computer would beat the chess player within 10 years, but it took closer to thirty. This is obviously a much tougher task, as it involves a moving robot that not only needs to be able to trap, pass and shoot a ball, it would have to adjust to and compete with 21 other moving players. But science is moving quickly and only time will tell.

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Best Soccer Goals of the Day 9/14/10

Posted by Noel on Wednesday, 15 September, 2010

Samuel Eto’o – Twente vs. Inter Milan (UEFA Champions League)

Samuel Eto’o ties up a great game, with an even greater shot as FC Twente and Inter Milan battle it out during Champions League Group play.

Marko Marin – Werder Bremen vs Tottenham (UEFA Champions League)

Marko Marin scores a classic final goal in what would be a 2-2 tie between Tottenham of the EPL and Werder Bremen of the Bundesliga.

Dani Alves – Barcelona vs Panathinaikos (UEFA Champions League)

Leonel Messi sets up teammate Dani Alves with a beautiful capper to Barcelona’s 5-1 victory over Panathinaikos.