2018 Alexa Prize Challenge
Amazon announced their yearly challenge earlier this month.
The eight teams selected to compete, listed below in alphabetical order, are:
- Alana, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland
- Alquist, Czech Technical University, Prague, Czech Republic
- Emerson Conversational Search Agent, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
- EVE, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
- Gunrock, UC Davis, Davis, CA
- KTH Fantastic, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden
- SlugBot, UC Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA
- Tartan, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA
Each team will receive a $250,000 research grant, Alexa-enabled devices, free Amazon Web Services (AWS) to support their development efforts, access to new Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) APIs, and tools, data and support from the Alexa team.
A $500,000 prize will be awarded to the team selected for creating the best socialbot. The second- and third-place teams will receive prizes of $100,000 and $50,000, respectively. Additionally, a $1 million research grant will be awarded to the winning team’s university if their socialbot achieves the grand challenge of conversing coherently and engagingly with humans for 20 minutes with a 4.0 or higher rating.
I’m pleased today to announce the 2018 teams selected to compete for the Alexa Prize, a $3.5 million university challenge to advance conversational AI. The teams will create socialbots that can converse coherently and engagingly with humans on a range of current events and popular topics such as entertainment, sports, politics, technology, and fashion.
An inspiring team of students from the University of Washington won last year’s inaugural competition. Mari Ostendorf, the faculty advisor to last year’s winning team and professor of electrical engineering at the University of Washington, says Alexa Prize was a rewarding experience on many levels.
“Not only did the students build Sounding Board from scratch, they learned from tapping into actual Alexa users across the U.S., and brought together the U of W community to share ideas and secure feedback in order to promote success,” Ostendorf said. “I anticipate the Alexa Prize will be just as exciting for this year’s participants, as each university team works collaboratively to create the future of conversational AI.”