Check out the article about Strange Beta in the February 2010 issue of Climbing.
Where'd it go?
The site is currently disabled (as of January 2017). After a good run of 7 years, I don't have resources to host or maintain the site. This page will stay up for anyone seeking information about the methods used on the site for machine-learning and chaotic-dynamics assisted course setting.
What is (was) this?
This is an attempt to use computers to assist in setting indoor rock climbing routes. More specifically, have a few questions:
We've carried out a pilot study along with a larger experiment to this effect, and found that the software can help and that
climbers in some cases prefer the routes it sets!
- Can computer software aid in setting routes (i.e., as an "idea generator")?
- Would (expert) route setters appreciate this assistance?
- Can climbers tell the difference (positively or negatively) between routes set with computer help?
This website is an attempt to build a community around this process.
The idea is that if anyone can use the tool, maybe we can learn how to make it better by getting direct feedback from the climbing
community as well as provide some opportunities for setters to collaborate with each other.
How does it work?
The details of our experiments and algorithms are all described in this
technical report. It should answer just about all your questions, and then some. Here are the academic publiations that feature Strange Beta. Please cite them if you use or reference the work:
- Caleb Phillips, Lee Becker, and Elizabeth Bradley. Strange Beta: An Assistance System for Indoor Rock Climbing Route Setting. Chaos: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Nonlinear Science. American Institute of Physics. Volume 22, Issue 1. March, 2012
- Caleb Phillips, Lee Becker, and Elizabeth Bradley. Strange Beta: An Assistance System for Indoor Rock Climbing Route Setting Using Chaotic Variations and Machine Learning. University of Colorado at Boulder, Tech. Report CU-CS-1088-11. October, 2011.
- Caleb Phillips and Elizabeth Bradley. Strange Beta: Chaotic Variations for Indoor Rock Climbing Route Setting. International Conference on Applications in Nonlinear Dynamics (ICAND 2010). Lake Louise, Canada. September, 21-24 2010. Invited.
Who is Responsible?
Caleb Phillips (a computer science professor and national laboratory scientist in Boulder, Colorado, Prof. Elizabeth Bradley (a professor
of applied mathematics at the University of Colorado, Boulder), and Prof. Jeffrey Luftig (an applied math professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder
who has lent us a hand with some of the statistical analysis). The folks at Climbing Magazine, particularly Matt Samet. And, the folks at the Boulder Rock Club, particularly Tony Yao and Jonathan Siegrist.