Brainstormers 2D

The robotic soccer team Brainstormers 2D was a team participating in the simulation league of the RoboCup competition from 1998 to 2008. Brainstormers' research focused on neural reinforcement learning methods for large parts of agent behaviour, from basic skills like moving and dribbling to high-level team cooperation. The team was founded by Martin Riedmiller in 1998 at the University of Karlsruhe and co-lead by Thomas Gabel from 2005 onwards. Besides several European titles, the team won three World Championships in 2005, 2007 and 2008.

Key facts

  • founded in 1998

  • three times world champion: 2005, 2007, and 2008

  • six consecutive European-level titles: 2005 through 2010

  • research focus: use of artificial intelligence-based and reinforcement learning approaches to the largest degree possible

  • more than 20 publications on the use of machine learning techniques in the context of robotic soccer

RoboCup 2D league 2007 final: Brainstromers vs. Wright Eagle

Neural Reinforcement Learning agents learn to play sophisticated attack moves: running to open positions, playing passes, dribbling and scoring.

The learning agents are only rewarded if they score.

About the Brainstormers

The Brainstormers are a team of 11 computer programs, that each control a simulated robot on a virtual playfield. The simulated robots share a lot of features with their real hardware colleagues (see the Brainstormers Tribots' site) - for example restricted view, restricted moving capabilities, restricted resources - but they have the big advantage to be much cheaper and much less sensible to damages. Therefore, the simulator league teams can concentrate on the development of control software.

Robotic soccer represents an excellent testbed for machine learning and, particularly, for reinforcement learning tasks. The scientific goal of our team is to use machine learning techniques - in particular reinforcement learning methods - to develop the players' control programs. So, from a learning point of view it is also our long-term goal to realize an agent that obtains its behavior by entirely employing a reinforcement learning methodology.

You can find more details about that focus in our research and publications sections below.

What is robotic soccer?

RoboCup is an international research initiative intending to expedite AI and intelligent robotics research by defining a set of standard problems where various technologies can and ought to be combined solving them. Annually, there are championship tournaments in several leagues - ranging from rescue tasks over real soccer-playing robots to simulated ones.

The Brainstormers 2D participate in RoboCup's 2D Simulation League, where two teams of simulated soccer-playing agents compete against one another using the Soccer Server, a real-time soccer simulation system.

The Soccer Server allows autonomous software agents written in an arbitrary programming language to play soccer in a client/server-based style: The server simulates the playing field, communication, the environment and its dynamics, while the clients - eleven agents per team - are permitted to send their intended actions (e.g. a parameterised kick or dash command) once per simulation cycle to the server via UDP. Then, the server takes all agents' actions into account, computes the subsequent world state and provides all agents with (partial) information about their environment via appropriate messages over UDP. The course of action during a match can be visualised using an additional program, the Soccer Monitor.

If you are interested in finding out, what progress has been made in RoboCup throughout the previous years, watch the video to the left or visit the RoboCup website:

Brainstormers Competitions


  • Prof. Dr. Thomas Gabel

  • Prof. Dr. Martin Riedmiller

  • Tobias Springenberg

  • Thomas Huber

  • Haiko Schol

  • Sascha Ludwig

  • Florian Trost

  • Hannes Schulz

  • Anton Fluegge

  • Kilian Klimek

  • Johannes Knabe

  • Hauke Strasdat

  • Manuel Nikschas

  • David Meier

  • Daniel Withopf

  • Artur Merke