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Congratulations to the 10 Teams Selected for the 1st TaskBot Challenge!

Introduced in 2016, the Alexa Prize is a first-of-its-kind opportunity, bringing together top academic talent from multiple universities, guided by Amazon scientists and engineers, to focus on a single problem: enabling delightful and engaging conversations between humans and AI.

Ten university teams, one from Asia, three from Europe and six from within the United States, have been selected to participate in the Alexa Prize TaskBot Challenge, the first conversational AI challenge to incorporate multimodal (voice and vision) customer experiences.

The teams will compete to develop agents that assist customers in completing cooking and do-it-yourself projects that require multiple steps and decisions. The year-long competition will conclude in May 2022, with winners being announced the following month.

The ten teams selected to compete are:

  1. Carnegie Mellon University
  2. National Taiwan University (NTU)
  3. NOVA School of Science and Technology (Portugal)
  4. Ohio State University
  5. Texas A&M University
  6. University College London
  7. University of California Santa Barbara
  8. University of Glasgow
  9. University of Massachusetts (Amherst)
  10. University of Pennsylvania

Success in the challenge will require the teams to address many difficult AI challenges, from knowledge representation and inference, and commonsense and causal reasoning, to language understanding and generation, requiring fusion of multiple AI techniques.

Each team will receive a $250,000 research grant, Alexa-enabled devices, free Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud computing services to support their research and development efforts, access to the TaskBot Toolkit, other data resources, and Alexa team support.

The additional data sources the teams will be able to utilize in developing their agents include publicly available datasets from Whole Foods and wikiHow. These data sources will be readily available to teams via APIs, streamlining development efforts, and allowing the teams to deliver quality customer experiences.

Customers can look forward to interacting with the TaskBots starting in October 2021.

Socialbot Grand Challenge 4 update

Each year, academic teams design socialbots that Alexa customers can interact with through their Alexa-enabled devices. The teams’ ultimate goal is to meet the Grand Challenge: earn a composite score of 4.0 or higher (out of 5) from the judges and have the judges find that at least two-thirds of their socialbots’ conversations in the final round remain coherent and engaging for 20 minutes. The first team to meet that challenge will win a $1 million research grant for its university.

In November 2020, 9 university teams were selected from a global pool of applicants to participate in the semifinal round of the Alexa Prize Socialbot Grand Challenge 4. And on May 4, 2021, eight (8) of those teams came one step closer to reaching their goal:

  • Czech Technical University, Prague
  • Emory University
  • Moscow Institute of Physics & Technology
  • SUNY at Buffalo, New York
  • Stanford University
  • Universidad Politécnica de Madrid
  • University of California, Santa Cruz
  • University of Southern California

Finalists will be chosen at the end of June 2020, based in large part on users ratings of their conversations with the bots. To start a conversation, simply say “Alexa, Let’s chat” to any Alexa enabled device.



TaskBot Challenge Key Dates

2021

Application period opens

March 17, 2021

Application period closes

April 20, 2021

Competing teams announced

May 2021

Initial Skills Development Period

June - August 2021

Competition begins

September 2021
2022

Finals

May 2022

Winners announced

June 2022

Alexa Prize TaskBot Challenge