Trying to Understand RoboCup
As the English striker Gary Lineker famously said, "Football is a very simple game. For 90 minutes, 22 men go running after the ball, and at the end, the Germans win." Although the game is simple, analyzing it can be hard. Just what makes one team better than another? How much difference do tactics make? Is there really such a thing as a "lucky win?" Here, we try to answer these questions in the context of RoboCup. We take the giant set of log data produced by the simulator tournaments from 1997 to 1999 and feed it to a data-munching program that produces statistics on important game features. Using these statistics, we identify precisely what has improved in RoboCup and what still requires further work. Plus, because the data muncher can work in real time, we can also release it as a proxy server for RoboCup. This proxy server gives all RoboCup developers instant access to statistics while a game is in progress and is a promising step toward an important goal: understanding RoboCup.
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