Chatbot Alquist selected to the finals of the Amazon competition Alexa Prize. For the fourth time - shall the team be golden this year?


The student team working at the Czech Institute of Informatics, Robotics and Cybernetics of the Czech Technical University (CIIRC) led by Jan Šedivý advanced to the finals of the Alexa Prize Social Bot Grand Challenge, which was announced for the fourth time by Amazon. Whether the team will finally be golden will be clear during August. The Alquist team was twice silver in previous years and bronze in 2020.

Chatbots are increasingly used in e-commerce, hospitality and social services. The Amazon competition – Alexa Prize Social Bot Grand Challenge – focuses on talking to them almost as if we were talking to a human being. The goal is to create a conversation robot for voice assistant Alexa, and be able to have interesting conversations with people on general topics such as movies, sports or music. The main prize of one million dollars (which has not been awarded yet) will be awarded to a chatbot capable of conducting continuous and entertaining conversations with an average length of at least 20 minutes.

A team of students from the Czech Technical University developing a conversational bot called Alquist at CIIRC CTU under the leadership of Jan Šedivý is participating in the competition for the fourth time and has always won a prestigious medal. However, they are still waiting for gold. The team gradually changes over the years, in 2021 it comprises the following students: Jakub Konrád (leader), Petr Marek, Petr Lorenc, Van Duy Ta and Ondřej Kobza.

In this year’s Alexa Prize Grand Challenge, we set several ambitious research goals,” said Jakub Konrád, a PhD student at CTU, and the team’s leader. “It is fantastic to see that our work paid off and led us to the competition finals once again. We can’t wait for the final round; we are focused on defending our placements from previous years and hopefully will do even better this time around.”

The final list includes the following universities:
• Athena, The University of California, Santa Cruz
• Emora, Emory University
• Chirpy Cardinal, Stanford University
• State University of New York (SUNY) Buffalo

The three most successful teams will be announced during August.

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