Computer Systems Laboratory Colloquium

4:15PM, Wednesday, February 19, 2003
NEC Auditorium, Gates Computer Science Building B03

Computer Technology in America's Cup Yacht Racing

Dr. J. Craig Mudge
Pacific Challenge
About the talk:

In February 2003, New Zealand is defending the America's Cup, the longest-running sports competition in the world, against a challenger selected from nine syndicates by a series of two-boat elimination races beginning in October 2002.  The would-be challengers came from syndicates based in France, Great Britain, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States. Some syndicates have spent $80 million on their campaigns.

Computer systems are increasingly used during the design (particularly modeling the hydrodynamic behavior of hulls and keels, and aerodynamic forces generated by sails), design iterations (building a database of performance parameters and boat configurations during months of two-boat testing), and as aids to tactical decisions during actual races (navigation and performance data for one's own boat, as well as the opposition).

The colloquium will cover the design process (modeling, tank and wind tunnel testing, and two-boat tuning), dealing with design tradeoffs, such as lift and drag of keels, and those tradeoffs stemming from the design rule, such as between boat length, displacement, and sail area.   Progress in construction materials since the first Cup Race in 1851 will be outlined.

Finally, some novel designs such as the Australian winged keel in 1983 and the Kiwi clip-on in 2003 will be analyzed.

About the speaker:

Dr. J. Craig Mudge is a computer technologist and experienced ocean yacht racing sailor . He races his thirty-five footer, J/105 "Kookaburra", from San Francisco and makes modest use of computer systems in logging and analysis of performance. In 2000, he co-skippered a sixty footer in the Sydney Hobart Race, one of the world's great ocean races.   In the mid-nineties he led the Computer Science Lab at Xerox PARC after designing VAX computers with DEC and semiconductor research with Australia's CSIRO.  In 1984 he founded Austek Microsystems, a semiconductor company which achieved several world firsts, including the first single-chip cache controller and the first asynchronous VLSI chip. He has taught computer science at Caltech, Carnegie Mellon University, and Flinders University. He co-authored Computer Engineering with Gordon Bell.  Currently he is Managing Partner of Pacific Challenge, a technology strategy consultancy based in Palo Alto, serving US and international clients.

Readings and Resources:

Interested in intersection of sailing and technology? Check out Stanford Yachting Research Group.

Contact information:

Dr. J. Craig Mudge
650 853 0110
650 321 9538