[robotics-worldwide] The IJCAI-09 workshop on "Competitions in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics"

Paul E. Rybski prybski at cs.cmu.edu
Sat Feb 28 19:54:19 PST 2009

*** The IJCAI-09 workshop on                                       ***
*** Competitions in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics           ***

July 12, 2009

Held in conjunction with IJCAI 2009
Pasadena, California, USA


 Call for Papers

Workshop Description:

Many subfields of artificial intelligence and robotics regularly host
competitions which impact research communities in many ways, including
a scientific, engineering and community dimension. Scientifically,
they offer a way to evaluate the state of the art of a subfield by
providing a common benchmark on which different approaches to a
problem can be compared. From the engineering perspective, they help
technology in an area to mature by requiring development of systems
that work robustly on unseen problems or by promoting the development
of tools or reusable system components for the problem addressed by
the competition. From the community perspective, they inspire
discussion and attract publicity for a field and help enroll young
researchers in a research community.

There are many subfields of artificial intelligence and robotics in
which competitions have had a clear influence on the research
landscape in past years:

 * In robotics, the RoboCup competitions (originally on robotic
   soccer, recently also in search and rescue scenarios) have
   attracted huge publicity and inspired a large number of researchers
   to work on its challenges. RoboCup has effectively evolved into an
   own subfield where research activity is to a large extent guided by
   the requirements defined by the competition. More recently, the
   DARPA Grand Challenge has spurned a flurry of research activity on
   autonomous navigation in large outdoor areas, leading to impressive
   improvements of the state of the art.

 * In satisfiability testing, the SAT competitions have provided a
   continuous challenge for solvers that has inspired significant
   algorithmic innovations for SAT solvers as well as huge
   improvements in implementation quality (e.g., low-level

 * In classical planning, the International Planning Competitions have
   focused the research community on a common representation language,
   PDDL, and a set of common benchmarks which have greatly helped
   comparing different classical planning systems to each other. They
   have also led to a huge increase in scalability of planning systems
   on a wide range of problem domains.

But competitions haven't had the same degree of impact in all
subfields of artificial intelligence or robotics. In model-based
diagnosis for instance the community has just started converging on a
generally accepted way of evaluating and comparing different
approaches or technologies. Some researchers argue that the missing
confidence in the methods used to evaluate approaches has been an
obstacle to progress in this area.

Despite the potential advantages resulting from competitions, they
have been a source of controversy in many subfields of artificial
intelligence. Whereas supporters believe that competitions accelerate
research, opponents argue that they often focus research on synthetic
problems or preclude research directions that are less aligned with
current competitions.

We believe that the methods used to evaluate and compare research have
strong implications on future research directions and therefore need
to be well designed. Once communities have accepted regular
competitions, it can be difficult to create new directions in
research. Another important aspect is the question of how competition
should evolve as research evolves. Therefore a careful design as well
as the actively guided evolution of competitions is essential for its
success in the field as well as for the success of the field.

Submission Guidelines:

Participants should submit a paper (maximum 8 pages, significantly
shorter submissions are also welcome). We encourage to submit papers
that describe competitions and their impact on the field as well as
papers from either the perspective of competition organizers or
participants. Accepted papers will be presented during the workshop.

Authors are requested to prepare their papers by following the IJCAI
instructions found at: http://www.ijcai-09.org/fcfp.html.

All submissions are conducted via the CAIR 2009 EasyChair website:
http://www.easychair.org/conferences/?conf=cair09. Submissions should
include the name(s), affiliations, and email addresses of all authors
in the body of the email. The deadline for receipt of submissions is
April 1, 2009 at 11:59 PST.

For questions about the submission process, contact the workshop

Important Dates:

  * Paper Submission: April 1, 2009
  * Notifications of Acceptance/Rejection: April 17, 2009
  * Camera-Ready Papers: May 8, 2009
  * Announcement of the Workshop Program: May 22, 2009
  * Workshop Date: July 12, 2009

Contact (Workshop Co-Chairs):

Malte Helmert
University of Freiburg
Institut für Informatik
helmert at informatik.uni-freiburg.de

Johan de Kleer
Embedded Reasoning Area
dekleer at parc.com

Lukas Kuhn
Embedded Reasoning Area
lukas.kuhn at parc.com

Paul Rybski
Carnegie Mellon University
Robotics Institute
prybski+ijcai at cs.cmu.edu

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