We have a winner! A Cloud Guru’s very own Scott Pletcher took first place in the recent AWS DeepRacer event at AWS Summit Chicago. Scott, who you may know from our AWS Certified Solutions Architect — Professional and AWS Certified Machine Learning — Speciality courses, blew past the checkered flag in 00:09.350, the only sub-10 second finish in the race.
Scott’s win is the culmination of A Cloud Guru racers’ steady improvement in DeepRacer events this year. ACG placed 4th in Santa Clara on March 27 and finished 8th in Atlanta on May 2.
DeepRacer pits AWS developers against each other in regular, live races featuring 1/18th scale, physical race cars. Billed as a “fun way to get started” (it is!) with reinforcement learning (RL), a machine learning technique for evolving complex behaviors without labeled training data, DeepRacer events are staged about once a week at AWS Summits around the globe.
The key to DeepRacer is preparation, training, and experimentation. Successful racers spend hours building, teaching, and testing virtual cars on standard and custom tracks in a cloud-based 3D racing simulator. The exercise incorporates Amazon SageMaker for RL model training, AWS RoboMaker as the race simulator, Amazon Kinesis Video Streaming to capture and play simulated race footage, Amazon S3 to store cars and tracks, and Amazon CloudWatch for log capture.
As the fastest lap time winner last week in Chicago, Scott is now eligible for a trip to re:Invent 2019, where Amazon will hold the DeepRacer League finals. The knockout competition is open to summit and virtual race event winners, as well as non-winning top points scorers across multiple races held throughout the year.
Amazon’s re:Invent 2019 conference will be held Dec. 2-6 in Las Vegas. Want to learn more about Scott’s experiments with AWS DeepRacer? Check out his GitHub here.