Tuesday, November 22, 2016

eClub Prague received the Amazon Alexa Prize!

eClub Prague students got one of their best opportunities by being selected as one of 12 teams from world leading universities to compete in the inaugural Amazon Alexa Prize with their very own Alquist chatbot. The eClub team has been selected by Amazon and it has been given the challenge to build a social bot that can converse on popular topics for 20 minutes. By being selected among such names as Princeton University, Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon and as only one of three universities in Europe this is a unique and exciting opportunity to put us on the map as one of the thought leaders on social bots. eClub Prague was awarded a $100,000 stipend, Alexa-enabled devices, free AWS services, and support from Amazon’s Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) team. All this to help us make the final three, who will be announced in August 2017. Also as part of the judging process, Alexa customers will have the opportunity to try out the Alquist chatbot themselves and their feedback will have an instrumental impact on the team making the final. The winners will be announced in November 2017 with a $1,5 million up for grabs. I am the academic advisor for a team consisting of Long Hoang Nguyen, Honza Pichl, Martin Matulík, Jakub Konrád and Petr Marek. the team is very excited about the opportunity that Amazon has given us and we hope to make the final three. Although this is a great achievement for the Prague-based team the work only starts. From now until April they will be working on developing conversational AIs such as knowledge acquisition, natural language understanding, natural language generation, context modeling, commonsense reasoning and dialog planning.