Sunday, 8 July 2007

Hawkeye can't decide line calls

I cannot believe I am actually doing this.

In the fourth set of the final, a Nadal 'winner' was decided to be that. Because, Rafa challenged the call otherwise. A review by the Hawkeye System predictably left Federer agitated. So was I. For twin reasons. As a Fed fan first and secondly, as someone who worked for Hawkeye a while, I cannot believe it is being used to judge such line calls.

Two things,

1. The spatial analysis does not result in an absolutely error free result for the x1, y1 of the ball at time time t1. This is just for camera 1. There are at least 6 cameras and the error simply gets added with each camera.

2. Secondly, the system's output gives a graphic. This simulates the ball at a pre-determined size. Which, at the time I was working, looked to be the most logical thing to do. Especially since I was working on the cricket software and the game was played with a hard ball. Now, when one determines the size of the ball and uses it to determine line calls in a Tennis match, it's plain ridiculous. Well, I did not realize it was when I was at it -- since the approximation appeared natural. But watching the game reminds you -- the tennis ball does not keep its full size on impact. It is a soft ball. To extrapolate it to its full size, on top of error 1 and then decide line calls, in Wimbledon finals, is stupid. I have no other word for it.

3. All this would have still worked fine had the laws of the game not been so idiotic to say -- even a nanometer of the line being caught by ball is good enough. That's a margin the system can't handle. In my experience, 15% of the ball size would be possible. But that is for a hard ball. For a soft ball, leave it to the line umpire.

4. Sorry Paul.

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

You sound like Nilu with your balls cut

Anonymous said...

And yet, the effects of cross winds are assumed to have been taken care of by data from previous states (Xn,Yn) for times Tn to predict the state at time Tn+1. Which is why the error can never approach zero and hence, the system will never be perfect. And the cricket ball is modeled as a sphere, which it isn't. As a result, all this is pointless and throwing out the fact that you've "worked" on Hawkeye is merely for brownie points, which again, is useless.

Nilu said...

anon2, in Tennis, there is no prediction.

GasquetFan said...

I didn't watch the match so I can't say. Even otherwise I know Hawkeye isn't the best option. Why don't they use a series of cameras like the ones used in cricket for adjudging runouts. I guess it takes a lot of time and disrupts the players rhythm.

Earlier it was upto the umpire to make the right calls. Now the player shares the burden and that is what I don't like about Hawkeye.

Maverick said...

I don't think you need to prove that Hawk-eye is 100% accurate to be used at tennis. As long as they have stats to prove that the accuracy-rate of Hawk-eye is much better than the calls made without it (human-eye), they can keep using it. It is just a question of using the best possible method available to judge close line calls. If you are suggesting that Hawk-eye should be taken off for those erroenous calls, are you guaranteeing me that all these linesmen made better judgements in the past and they were 100% accurate. What about those countless erroneous calls made by them in the history of tennis so far?

How would Federer cope with if he sees a long ball called 'in' by a linesman more than once in a match? Would Federer call him 'biased' and ask him to be taken off? With machines, as long as you have stats to prove that they are less erroneous than humans, you can take away the 'human bias' factor :)

Anyway, being someone worked on the system, do you know if there are any stats for the Hawk-eye that the inventor would have presented to ATP and convinced them that they are more accurate than human judgements before deploying them? I am sure something of the sort would have happened and ATP would not have implemented just for the sake that we have a system. Something similar to the way ICC releases the accuracy rate of umpiring decisions made by their elite panel. Anything?

Nilu said...

Maverick,

Your assertion that lesser number of errors makes Hawkeye a better system is not valid. Let me explain why -- the human error, as I mentioned elsewhere, is assumed to be normally distributed. Whereas, Hawkeye has an inbuilt error rate that will precisely go wrong whenever the call is for a mm of the line being caught. This error is not normalised and therefore, though the overall rate be lesser (of which I am not sure either), the type of error is more serious here. So, the human still works better -- assuming, the human is 'above average'.

Anonymous said...

What beloni.

al said...

adhavadhu..
u worked for Hawkeye..

Anonymous said...

dei yaaruda athu beloni?

Anonymous said...

Dear Anon3,
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anon3 said...

anon6 : I stand corrected

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I wish Johnny Mac had been around during the time the Hawk-eye system is in place. Some more priceless gems in the vein of "You cannot be serious!" would have surely followed!:-)

anantha said...

Muhaafiz: I think you should have gotten to see the doubles final then. One of the Bryan brothers had this to say to the chair umpire - "They are going to show this over and over again on TV and you are going to look stupid."

That line and the actual exchange between the umpire and the two brothers lasted a couple of minutes and was hilarious to watch!

But this was over a bad "net touch" call by the chair umpire. But hilarious nevertheless.

Anonymous said...

is this Nilu's post or some saamiyar's ?

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