Greetings from the RoboCup-97 Organizer

1997 will be remembered as a turning point in the history of science and engineering. In early May, we witnessed that decades of efforts by talented and dedicated researchers resulted in a specialized computer system which can even beat the human world champion in Chess. One of the goals of AI, which lasted over 40 years, came to a successful conclusion. NASA's Mars pathfinder, the first autonomous robot system deployed on another planet, is still engaged in its mission even at this moment. This is the first year of the second half of the century, since the modern form computer was invented. This is the year that the first RoboCup is held.

RoboCup (The Robot World Cup Soccer Games and Conferences) is an attempt to promote AI and robotics research by providing a common task for evaluation of various theories, algorithms, and agent architectures. In order for robots (physical robots and software agents) to play a soccer game reasonably well, a wide range of technologies need to be integrated and a number of technical breakthroughs must be accomplished. The range of technologies spans both AI and robotics research, such as design principles of autonomous agents, multi-agent collaboration, strategy acquisition, real-time reasoning and planning, intelligent robotics, sensor-fusion, and so forth.

It is essential for the scientific community to have significant long range goals, whose accomplishment will lead to significant technical and social contributions, directly or indirectly.

Potential applications of technologies developed by RoboCup are numerous, including: urban search and rescue, robots for hazardous and hostile environments, office robots which can work with people, and safety systems for autonomous robots.

RoboCup is specifically designed to foster scientific and engineering research to create a basis of the next generation of industry. It is now expected to be the landmark project of the AI and robotics communities for the 21st century.

The RoboCup Japanese National Committee and Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Inc. is organizing RoboCup-97, the Robot World Cup Soccer Games and Conferences 1997. This is the first international games and conferences organized with the authorization of the RoboCup International Committee. RoboCup is regularly scheduled to organize games and conferences on both international and regional scales.

RoboCup-97 organizing committee would like to express sincere thanks to our corporate sponsors and supporting societies and companies for their understanding and support for this project. We also wish to thank those who helped us directly or indirectly to make this project in reality.

We sincerely hope that RoboCup will contribute to the progress of science and technology, and will foster innovations to help shape the next generation's industries.