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Announcing the Alexa Prize SimBot Challenge to Advance Human – Computer Interaction

Alexa Prize has launched a new challenge, Alexa Prize SimBot Challenge is a competition focused on helping advance development of next-generation virtual assistants that will assist humans in completing real-world tasks by continuously learning, and gaining the ability to perform commonsense reasoning.

“Next-generation assistants won’t just be sitting in your kitchen or living room, and responding to your questions or requests,” said Dilek Hakkani-Tür, Alexa AI senior principal scientist. “They will be ambient and mobile, helping customers accomplish tasks in the real-world through better situated intelligence. The goal of the SimBot Challenge is to advance the science so that future generations of virtual assistants are capable of learning continuously, and are imbued with a more generalized intelligence.”

The new challenge will be conducted in parallel with the Alexa Prize TaskBot Challenge, which was announced earlier this year. Ten university teams from three continents are currently participating in the TaskBot Challenge, the first conversational AI challenge to incorporate multimodal (voice and vision) customer experiences. The TaskBots will go live for US Alexa customer use in mid-October, just say “Alexa, Assist Me”

SimBot Challenge

Human-robot interaction has long been investigated within the field of artificial intelligence, including using dialogue as the interaction mechanism for completing tasks. The SimBot Challenge will focus on navigation, object manipulation, and machine perception and reasoning within a virtual world.

The application period for university teams looking to participate in the Alexa Prize SimBot Challenge begins today, and extends to October 31, 2021. University teams can apply here.

Learn more about the SimBot Challenge

TEACh Dataset

In conjunction with the announcement of the SimBot Challenge, Amazon today is publicly releasing TEACh, a new dataset of more than 3,000 human-to-human dialogues between a simulated user and simulated robot communicating with each other to complete household tasks. In TEACh, the simulated user cannot interact with objects in the environment and the simulated robot does not know the task to be completed, requiring them to communicate and collaborate to successfully complete tasks. The public benchmark phase of the SimBot Challenge will be based on the TEACh dataset Execution from Dialog History (EDH) benchmark which evaluates a model’s ability to predict subsequent simulated robot actions, given the dialogue history between the user and the robot, and past robot actions and observations.

Due to the unconstrained dialog interface used in the collection the dataset, TEACh dialogue sessions demonstrate a wide range of interesting dialogue phenomena including variation in instruction granularity, completeness, relevance and repetition, coreference to previously mentioned entities, past actions and locations, language-guided backtracking and correction of mistakes – all of which will be important aspects in the SimBot Challenge.

Alexa Prize SocialBot Grand Challenge

In August, Amazon announced that a team from Czech Technical University in Prague won the fourth SocialBot challenge. Previous challenge winners include teams from the University of Washington, the University of California, Davis, and Emory University.

Each of the nine participating teams in Alexa Prize Grand Challenge 4 published a research paper outlining their technical approaches to this year’s competition. The papers are available on the Alexa Prize website.

Alexa Prize SimBot Challenge