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Czech team won the Amazon Alexa Prize Socialbot Grand Challenge 4

Amazon announced the Czech Institute of Informatics, Robotics, and Cybernetics of the Czech Technical University (CIIRC) on Monday, August 16, the winner of the fourth year of the competition for the best program capable of conversation with humans Alexa Prize Social Bot Grand Challenge. The Alquist conversation robot (or chatbot) was created at CIIRC ČVUT in 2016 when a group of students led by artificial intelligence expert Jan Šedivý sent an application for the Alexa Prize competition announced by Amazon for the first time. The Czech team is not a newcomer to the competition. After three years in the silver and bronze positions, the team won the most valuable metal - gold.

This year, the Czech team tried to create a system capable of flexible conversation, which synthesizes approaches with prepared scenarios, and at the same time, can better adapt to the needs of users. It paid off under the leadership of Jakub Konrád. Of course, the experience gained in the field can positively influence students' knowledge, which they will undoubtedly use in their future professional orientation. Users and jurors alike confirmed that their conversations with Alquist were the longest, best, most valuable, and funniest, even though they were programmed by students whose English is not their mother tongue and the  American environment and society are quite different from their own. In the finals, they defeated all their American competitors from Stanford University (2nd place), the University of Buffalo (3rd place), the University of California, Santa Cruz (finalist), and Emory University (finalist). In addition to recognition for his excellent work and representation of the most important Czech technical university in the international field, the team also receives a financial reward of half a million dollars for a fourteen-minute interview with the machine. Alexa Prize Socialbot Grand Challenge is a competition that Amazon has been announcing for university students since 2016. This year's competition was held virtually at the Seattle Summit due to a pandemic; the final announcement was held in Las Vegas.

The Alexa Prize Socialbot Grand Challenge is a competition for university students dedicated to accelerating the field of conversational AI. The competition focuses on creating a social bot, an Alexa skill that converses coherently and engagingly with humans on popular topics and news events. Participating teams will advance several areas of conversational AI, including knowledge acquisition, natural language understanding, natural language generation, context modeling, commonsense reasoning, and dialog planning. Through the innovative work of students, Alexa customers will have a novel, engaging conversations. And, the immediate feedback from Alexa customers will help students improve their algorithms much faster than previously possible.