Pi Wars 2019 – Important information for visitors

Welcome to the Important Information page for Pi Wars.

On here, you’ll find information about getting to the venue and what will be happening during the event.


This timetable applies to both days this year. We hope to welcome over 70 teams across the weekend.

9.30am – Main doors open for competitors, exhibitors, judges and marshals. Competitor registration begins.
10.15am – Main doors open for spectators.
10.30am – Competition challenge runs start (competitors, please check your individual timetables for your start time).
5pm (approx) – Most challenges finish. Only Pi Noon left to complete!
5.30pm (approx) – Pi Noon finishes. Prizegiving ceremony in the Lecture Theatre (following the “customary delay” for us to finish off the scoring).
6.30pm (approx) – Prizegiving ceremony finishes. Home time!

Getting there & parking

The venue is located in West Cambridge, in close proximity to the Madingley Road Park & Ride. The actual address of the venue is:

William Gates Building,
15 JJ Thomson Avenue,

You can view the location on Google Maps here.

If you drive up Madingley Road with the P&R on the left, you will need to decide which road on the right you should take:

  • DISABLED PARKING and DROP OFF of equipment/supplies – the turning on the right you want is sign-posted to the Cavendish Laboratory/West Cambridge Site. The William Gates Building (University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory), where the event is held, is a little way up on the left and is the imposing building with the small car park in the front. If you are dropping off, you will then need to move your car to the regular parking facility.
  • REGULAR PARKING – keep going to the next turning on the right (Clerk Maxwell Road).

The Regular Parking for the event is on Clerk Maxwell Road off Madingley Road (A1303) in the University’s Park and Cycle facility. There will be signs up for this car park. There will also be signs up to direct you from that car park to the event, which is just two minutes walk away.


If you are a spectator, please bring your tickets with you and present them at the front desk for entry. (Presenting them on your phone is fine). Additional tickets can be obtained on the day. Under-18s go free. Adults are £5 per day or £7 for the whole weekend. Cash only on the day, please.

If you are a volunteer judge or marshal, please register at the front desk on arrival. You will be issued with a badge and any equipment you need.

If you are a competitor, your entry fee to the competition covers all members of your team. Please register at the front desk when you arrive and we’ll give you your competitors’ pack.

If you are an exhibitor, please drop by the front desk on arrival and we will let you know where you will be situated.


We will have a printed programme available which lists the teams & the challenges, has a map of the venue and contains information about our sponsors. Please make sure that you pick up a copy on your way in.

The Challenge Courses

The courses are all on the ground floor and are accessible to wheelchair users.

Please do not step on the courses at any time. Only judges are permitted to step on the challenge courses – this is to ensure ‘fair play’ and to minimise marking the paint.

Please note: Under no circumstances is anyone permitted to step on the Spirit of Curiosity course. It is fragile and you will go straight through it!

Competitor Workrooms (The Pits)

These are for Competitors only and are on the upper floors of the building. There will be signs to guide you. You will be assigned a Workroom when you arrive which should provide you with a table to work on, should you need to. There will be power available in the room, but please bring an extension cable or any other equipment that you need.

Please remember: If you are charging batteries, please make sure you supply a battery safety pouch/bag to charge them in. If you don’t know what I mean, please get in touch.

Please note: We recommend that you provide a stand to place your robot on to immobilise it in the workroom. This is to ensure it doesn’t accidentally go zooming off the table to smash into a million pieces!

Artistic Merit/Technical Merit/Special Prize Judging

Judging for these takes place in the Quiet Area on the first floor (above the lecture theatres) from 12.00-2.30pm on both days. If you are a competitor, please ensure that you schedule time to be judged on these as you can pick up lots of points. You will need to fit this in around your other challenges, but we’ve tried to make sure this isn’t impossible!

Marketplace & Show and Tell

We are incredibly pleased to be able to offer an extensive Marketplace, featuring many of our sponsors. This is a great opportunity to skip the postal fees and buy bits for your projects and to see what people have to offer. There are also some Show and Tell exhibits and an interactive robot workshop.

Cash Point & Shop

Unfortunately, the building itself has no cash point. Many (but not all) of the Marketplace exhibitors will accept cards, however. We recommend bringing some cash because of this.

If you do need cash, there is a cash point not far away just off Charles Babbage Road. If you walk down JJ Thomson Avenue away from the main road, Charles Babbage Road is the one crossing it that you meet. Cross over that road and bear to your right – it’s on the face of one of the buildings opposite (see map – it’s marked with the red flag) or follow this link to Google Maps.

If you need a shop, there is a Sainsbury’s 20 minutes walk, or 2 minutes drive away with free parking on-site:

Walking route
Driving route


There is a good cafe on-site where you can get hot and cold food for lunch. However, feel free to bring your own. There is a nice seating area inside the venue that can be used for eating/drinking. Please be aware that the venue is rather remote and that there are no other eating places nearby. We expect the cafe and seating area to be busy. Please note: The Cafe does accept cards.


These are located at the far end of the venue, opposite the cafe.

Press Room

There is a small press room on the first floor. Let us know when you arrive if you’d like to use it and we can direct you 🙂

The Prizegiving

Everyone is welcome to the prizegiving ceremony in the Lecture Theatre at about 5.30pm. It normally lasts about an hour.


As always, if you have any questions at all, please get in contact with us.