Publication date: 
2018/09/06
The Alquist Student Team led by Jan Šedivý of the Czech Institute of Informatics, Robotics and Cybernetics will again take part in the finals of this year´s Alexa Prize competition. Its organised by the American giant Amazon for the second time. Same as last year, students have advanced from the first place in semifinals with their chatbot, Alquist. In the competition, universities from around the world are tasked with creating the best conversational artificial intelligence for the Amazon Echo smart device.

Students Jan Pichl, Petr Marek, Jakub Konrad, Martin Matulik and Petr Lorenc from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering at the Czech Technical University in Prague defeated the seven competing world universities in the semi-finals round.They will eventually meet the Heriot-Watt University (Edinburgh) in the final round, which last year took third place, and with the University of California Davis, one of the so called Public Ivies, a group of the best colleges in the US. For the second time, the CTU team has also become the only team from a non-English speaking country that made it to competition finale.

The announcement of the winner will be held at the re:Invent 2018 conference in Las Vegas on 26 - 30 November. In the semi-finals round, which ran from 2 July to 15 August, eight actual Amazon Alexa users rated anonymously all eight of the competition chatbots. They rated them with 1 to 5 stars. Alquis conducted tens of thousands of interviews just in the semi-finals round alone, during which it received the best user rating. The first two teams advanced to the final round together with one of the remaining universities that used a wild card. Even now, users can talk with the final bots  using the "Alexa, let's chat" command.   Amazon distributes $ 3.5 million in the competition. The first team will get to deal $ 500,000, the second $ 100,000 and the third $ 50,000. Student teams also have a chance to win up to $ 1 million if their chatbot is able to hold a continuous and entertaining interview with an average length of at least 20 minutes with a rating of at least 4 out of 5 stars. Last year, the Alquist team, consisting of Jan Pichl, Petr Marek, Martin Matulik, Jakub Konrad and Hoang Long Nguyen, ranked second among the 12 competitor universities and defeated universities such as Princeton, MIT or Berkeley. The development of the chatbot is conducted  within the eClub Prague student incubator.   Contact person: Radka Fléglová