Juniper Networks today announced that it has become the global technology partner of the World Robot Olympiad Association (WRO), a non-profit organization that focuses on the hands-on development of robotics within STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) education on a worldwide scale. In a multi-year agreement, Juniper will work closely with WRO to promote, stage and further develop this global competition that attracts tens of thousands of young people.
As part of its involvement in the competition, Juniper will be sponsoring a new trophy at this year’s finals, WRO 2018, known as the Juniper Networks’ Engineering Simplicity Honors Award. Juniper will judge teams in the Regular category at the finals, across all age groups, on the boldness, creativity and simplicity of their robot-led solutions. Overall, the WRO competition encourages participating teams to solve challenges and complex problems using mathematics, computer programming and coding skills, as well as exploring the principles of automation. It also fosters other important life skills including teamwork, perseverance, learning from mistakes and creative thinking.
“It is imperative that the upcoming generations understand the importance of automation – Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, virtualization – in order to take the technology forward into their future. Juniper Networks is proud to be the global technology partner of the WRO Finals in 2018 and beyond, as it is the perfect nurturing environment for tomorrow’s automation innovators,” said Mike Marcellin, chief marketing officer at Juniper Networks.
Juniper is currently sponsoring a short documentary film looking at the human stories behind some of the teams and their paths to WRO 2018. The company is working in conjunction with the accomplished filmmaker and director James Redford, who is renowned for making documentary films that focus on personal, solution-based stories addressing vexing social and environmental challenges.
“Bringing Juniper Networks on board as a global premium partner enables us to tap into its heritage and experience as an engineering and automation pioneer. Juniper will provide practical support and inspiration for young people as they embark upon their STEM-driven journeys toward fulfilling careers,” said Claus Ditlev Christensen, secretary-general at World Robot Olympiad Association Ltd.
Each year, at least 23,000 teams from more than 70 countries take part in WRO’s competition. This involves approximately 100,000 young people, ranging from six to 25 years old. The competition comprises several categories across the age group span, including Regular (a themed category), Open (to drive innovation and creativity), a robotic football tournament, an Advanced Robotics Challenge for students aged 19-25, and WeDo, a starter class for children aged 6-10.
Country heats roll up to a national final, with the winners going forward to the global finals. The competition focuses on a specific theme that is relevant to a prevailing global issue – this year it is Food Matters. Challenges are tailored specifically to the theme, enabling competitors to develop ambitious, yet simple, automated solutions.
WRO, founded in 2004, hosts the Finals in a different country each year. In 2018, the global finals will be in Chiang Mai, Thailand (November 16-18) and they will take place in Hungary in 2019.