The Twentieth National Conference on Artificial Intelligence

By Veloso, Manuela; Kambhampati, Subbarao | AI Magazine, Winter 2005 | Go to article overview

The Twentieth National Conference on Artificial Intelligence


Veloso, Manuela, Kambhampati, Subbarao, AI Magazine


* The Twentieth National Conference on Artificial Intelligence was held July 9-13, 2005, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The conference, which marked the twenty-fifth anniversary of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), received 803 submissions to the technical program. All papers were double-blind reviewed, and 150 papers were accepted for oral presentation, while 79 papers were accepted for poster presentation. The keynote address was delivered by Marvin Minsky.

The Twentieth National Conference on Artificial Intelligence was held during July 9-13 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The conference was attended by about 975 representatives from academe and industry. This was a special year for the conference because it was the twenty-fifth anniversary of the first AAAI conference held in 1980. The field of AI has grown and diversified in many directions since that first conference at Stanford University a quarter century ago. One of the aims of this year's conference was to recapture some of the heady unity of purpose from those early years. By all accounts, the conference succeeded in reaching that goal.

Our efforts to broaden the conference while retaining its high quality got off to a rousing start with a record number of 803 submissions to the technical program. This was an 80 percent increase in submissions from recent years. We had submissions from 40 countries, with 48 percent of the submitted papers from outside the United States. Since its inception AAAI has been justifiably proud of the high quality of reviewing and technical content. We tried to cement this reputation with several novel features. In keeping with AAAI tradition, each paper received a double-blind review by the three program committee (PC) members. The assigned senior PC member then facilitated the discussion among the reviewers. A novel feature this year was the opportunity for the authors to read the reviews and provide a response of limited length. The author feedback feature seems to be a success, judging from the number of authors who took advantage of it and the amount of PC discussion the responses generated. The PC discussions resulted in accept or reject decisions that were then reviewed in a "virtual" meeting between senior PC members and the program chairs. As a result of this rigorous process, we accepted 150 papers for oral presentation and 79 papers for poster presentation. All of them got the same number of pages in the proceedings. The poster presentation track was a first for AAAI.

We were delighted to have Marvin Minsky give the keynote speech for this conference. Minsky's thought-provoking talk "Internal Grounding, Reflection, and the Illusion of Self-Consciousness" started the conference off on the right note, highlighting the diversity of intelligent processes and reasoning methods. On the second day, Ronald Brachman gave the presidential address, in which he made an eloquent case for AAAI as the unifying forum to drive the central integrating goals of AI enterprise.

Our other invited speakers, Tucker Balch, Chitta Baral, Amy Greenwald, Marti Hearst, Sridhar Mahadevan, and Dana Nau all talked about the latest advances in their varied areas of research to full-house audiences. The conference schedule was arranged to avoid conflicts between invited talks and technical paper presentations. There was also a packed megasession on the second evening with 79 technical papers presented as posters, the student abstracts, intelligent system demonstrations, and robot exhibitions.

The conference's outstanding paper award went to Vincent Cicirello and Stephen Smith for their paper "The Max K-Armed Bandit: A New Model of Exploration Applied to Search Heuristic Selection." Joerg Hoffmann and Gaurav Sukhatme were recognized for their outstanding service on the PC and the senior PC, respectively.

When the first AAAI conference was held a quarter century ago, it was among the few major forums for presenting the results of AI research. …

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