The Fifteenth Innovative Applications of Artificial Intelligence Conference (IAAI-2002). (Editorial Introduction)

Article excerpt

The Fourteenth Innovative Applications of Artificial Intelligence Conference (IAAI-2002) was held from 28 July to 1 August in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, in conjunction with the Seventeenth National Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI-2002). As in past years, papers were solicited in two categories: (1) deployed applications and (2) emerging applications and technologies. Deployed application papers describe systems that have been in use for at least several months by individuals or organizations other than their developers, have measurable benefits, and incorporate AI technologies. Emerging applications are technologies and systems that are close to deployment and clearly show an innovative implementation of AI technologies. These papers are of value not only to other application developers looking for guidance in applying various techniques to their own applications but also to researchers who need to understand the unique technical challenges provided by real-world problems.

For IAAI-2002, we received 54 submissions, containing a wealth of outstanding applications and emerging technology papers (15 deployed and 39 emerging). Of these 54 submissions, the program committee accepted 7 deployed and 11 emerging papers for a 33-percent acceptance rate. Because of the large number of submissions, the program committee was only able to accept the most significant papers. In many cases, we deferred acceptance of papers in the belief that the paper would be even stronger or more compelling with another year of data, experience, or development. The papers from IAAI-2002 display a wide range of applications. This continuing stream of applications shows that AI continues to grow vibrantly in the new millennium. Deployed application areas included scheduling of university exams, information extraction, web-based customer service, engineering configuration, military education, call center scheduling, and quote generation for sales. Emerging applications included an even broader range of applications, such as military decision support, ship control, knowledge formation, virtual reality for training, computer security, and travel planning.

In addition to the paper presentation track, IAAI hosted a number of special events. Robin Murphy gave an invited talk on robot-assisted urban search and rescue at the World Trade Center, outlining a number of opportunities and challenges for AI and robotics research. Challenges of robustness and reliability and human-machine interface and systems represent core issues to the IAAI community. In addition, IAAI and AAAI cohosted an invited talk by Raymond Kurzweil on human-level strong AI.

This year IAAI initiated the Entrepreneurship Track, a series of events focused on AI companies. In this track, Neil Jacobstein chaired a panel entitled Pioneering AI Businesses I: A 20-Year Review. In this panel, Jacobstein was joined by Ed Feigenbaum, Mark Fox, and Amos Barzilay in recounting and analyzing a number of AI companies that began in the early 1980s. Craig Knoblock chaired a panel entitled Pioneering AI Businesses II: Recent Startups. In this panel, Knoblock was joined by Tom Mitchell, Tuomas Sandholm, and Dan Weld in the discussion and analysis of several AI startups in recent years. Finally, Steve Chien and Minda Wilson organized the Entrepreneurs Forum, an informal event to facilitate interactions among members of the AI community involved or interested in the startup process. We received considerable positive feedback from participants in the Entrepreneurship Track and hope to continue it in future IAAI conferences.

For this special issue, we selected six papers--four deployed applications and two emerging technologies--and asked the authors to expand on their conference papers to enable a more in-depth view of the problems being solved. These articles provide an excellent cross-section of innovative applications being deployed that leverage AI technologies. …