NASA Swarmathon 2018

NASA Swarmathon award

Achievement: Team Video - Best Full Length Documentary


Montgomery College NASA Swarmathon Team





The NASA Swarmathon is a competition organized by the University of New Mexico and funded by NASA in which students from Minority Service Universities or Community Colleges are challenged to develop algorithms for robotic swarms designed to explore Mars.

Montgomery College Swarmathon team with their mentor Dr. Kuijt participated in the Virtual Competition of 2017 against 15 other teams in the Virtual Competition. The code developed by the MC students collected the most cubes in total, which led the team to win first place in the competition. 

The MC Swarmathon team is participating in the Physical Competition of 2018. And is looking forward to win first place again. This year’s Physical Competition is confirmed by 24 teams that have to develop search algorithms that make the rovers find cubes through obstacles and bring them to the center nest.

Montgomery College Swarmathon
Montgomery College Swarmathon

Future Events:

·       03/01/2018 Technical Check-In 4 Final Check-In

·       03/20/2018 Final Code Submission

·       03/25/2018 Technical and Outreach Reports due

·       April 17-19, 2018 NASA Swarmathon 2018 Competition at Kennedy Space Center

Montgomery College Swarmathon
Montgomery College Swarmathon

NASA Swarmathon Competition

2017 Competition:

In 2017 the MC Swarmathon team participated in the Swarmathon Virtual Competition were they created algorithms for the virtual Swarmies to collect resources (cubes) in a virtual arena built by Gazebo software. As described in the rules, teams may not communicate with their robots in any way during the competition. All robot actions must be autonomous.

2018 Competition

     Physical SwarmathonCompetition.

The MC Swarmathon team has sign up this year for the Physical Competition. The purpose of this Competition is to develop search algorithms for autonomous swarm robots to look at the arena for cube which represent the resources found at Mars. This year’s competition has a addition of obstacles where the rovers have to navigate around.

MC Swarmathon team will be competing against 24 teams from different places of the U.S

MC Swarmathon team competed against 15 other teams from all over the country. This was the second year of the NASA Swarmathon Competition, and the first year that Montgomery College has participated. The MC Swarmathon team won first place and a prize of $3000 in the last year competition by developing two search algorithms that collected the most cubes in total.

  • Achievement (Award)

2017 Virtual MC Swarmathon Competition Awards

A team of 12 Montgomery College computer science and engineering students won the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) virtual Swarmathon competition April 20, beating 14 other college teams, including many four-year schools.

The goal of the competition is to develop cooperative robotics for space exploration. MC Swarmathon teams develop computer code used by swarms of robots to autonomously find and collect the most resources in an arena without human supervision or maps. To meet this challenge, students develop new algorithms (rules encoded in computer programs) that can be used by robot swarms for other applications such as cleaning up hazardous waste or rescuing people in disaster zones.


The MC Swarmathon team spent the Spring 2017 semester learning and programming robots under the guidance of Dr. David Kuijt, professor of computer science. Seven of the students traveled to the NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the competition that lasted April 18 through April 20.

The Swarmathon is administered under a cooperative agreement between the NASA Minority University Research and Education Program (MUREP) and The University of New Mexico (UNM). Over 1,000 students have participated in the Swarmathon since 2015. Participants are from minority serving institutions.

The MC Swarmathon team was awarded a monetary prize and members are already thinking about future challenges: In the next few months, look for the team to be testing code on physical robots in campus parking lots.    

MC Swarmathon