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The Alexa Prize is excited to announce the second and newest challenge – the TaskBot Challenge! In this challenge academic teams will be asked to develop agents that assist customers in completing tasks requiring multiple steps and decisions. It is the first conversational AI challenge to incorporate multimodal (voice and vision) customer experiences.

The challenge incorporates multimodal customer experiences, so in addition to receiving verbal instructions, customers with Echo screen devices, such as the new Echo Show 10, could also be presented with step-by-step instructions, images, or diagrams that enhance task guidance.

“This new Alexa Prize challenge represents a major step towards Alexa becoming the best digital assistant, by interactively assisting customers to complete everyday tasks, be it in cooking or home improvement. This is a hard AI challenge and we need to rally the best scientific minds if we want to be successful. This is a wonderful example of our customer-obsessed science approach where we push the boundaries of science to help and delight our customers together with academia.”
Yoelle Maarek, vice president of research and science, Alexa Shopping

The new challenge will be conducted in parallel with the existing Socialbot Grand Challenge 4, in which nine university teams are competing to create socialbots that can converse coherently and engagingly with humans for 20 minutes on a range of topics.

Success in the challenge will require participants to advance the state of the art in conversational AI, and address difficult science challenges related to knowledge representation and inference, commonsense and causal reasoning, and language understanding and generation, among others, – requiring synthesis of multiple areas and approaches in AI.

Up to ten teams will be selected to participate in the challenge by June 11, and the competition will begin on June 14. The year-long competition will conclude in May 2022, with winners being announced the following month.

The teams selected for the challenge receive a $250,000 research grant, Alexa-enabled devices, free Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud computing services to support their research and development efforts, access to the TaskBot Toolkit, and other resources data, and Alexa team support. The winning team receives a $500,000 prize, and the second- and third-place team receive prizes of $100,000 and $50,000, respectively.



TaskBot Challenge Key Dates

2021

Application period opens

March 17, 2021

Application period closes

April 20, 2021

Competing teams announced

May 2021

Initial Skills Development Period

June - August 2021

Competition begins

September 2021
2022

Finals

May 2022

Winners announced

June 2022

Alexa Prize TaskBot Challenge