The DREAM team from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology has reached the semifinals of the Alexa Prize Socialbot Grand Challenge 3, an international university contest for conversational AI developers.
The goal of the challenge is to create advanced dialogue agents, or “socialbots,” for Amazon Alexa that will converse with users on popular topics and current events. Each participating team received a $250,000 research grant and access to other Amazon resources.
The DREAM team consists of undergraduate and graduate students from MIPT’s Neural Networks and Deep Learning Lab: Dilyara Baymurzina, Elena Ermakova, Idris Yusupov, Dmitry Karpov, The Anh Le, Denis Kuznetsov, Daniil Cherniavskii, and Yury Kuratov, the team leader.
“We became one of the six teams with the highest average ratings provided by Alexa users, securing a spot in the semifinals. We see this contest as a great opportunity to work on advanced AI technologies and develop something unique. As for our main goal, we are planning to make it to the finals and win,” said Kuratov. “The Alexa Prize Challenge provides a unique opportunity for researchers to test their hypotheses on actual user interactions rather than the static datasets that tend to be used in academia.”
During the quarterfinals, which took place from Feb. 3 to March 17, all Alexa users had the opportunity to interact with and rate eligible socialbots through the Alexa Prize Skill. Teams were selected by evaluating the socialbots on two key criteria: the user ratings after having a conversation with the bot and the average duration of the interaction session. Only six teams reached the semifinals. The MIPT team is the only one representing Russia. The final results of the contest are expected in May 2020. The winners will receive prize money for all team members to share.
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Previously, Kuratov shared the details of the team’s participation in the contest at the second anniversary of the DeepPavlov project.