Team Gunrock of UC Davis Wins First Place
Team Gunrock of UC Davis has officially won first place in the 2018 Amazon Alexa Prize competition! We are so humbled by the opportunity to improve the quality of conversational AI, and would like to thank all of you for your support throughout this journey. Our socialbot earned an average score of 3.1 out of 5 points, managing to carry a conversation for 9 minutes and 59 seconds.
We started this competition competing against eight teams from universities around the world. During the initial phases of this experiment, our group took its first steps to create the bot’s dialogue and conversational flow. We faced challenges of getting the socialbot to stick to the topic of the conversation, and tried to get Gunrock to understand user requests. This was our first time competing in the competition, and we lacked the experience that other groups had. According to team lead Arbit Chen, there was a lot of worry amongst team members about making it through the finals because “we had less data to work with compared to the other returning teams. We needed to catch up with a whole year’s worth of work from other returning groups while still planning ways to stay competitive.”
Our hard work had finally paid off. Team Gunrock now proudly represents UC Davis as first place finalists. Since winning the wildcard pick in the finals round, our team worked diligently to facilitate an informative, natural flowing conversation between users and our socialbot. It was with great optimism and efficient collaboration that we managed to come together and successfully secure our 3.1 rating.
The most rewarding aspect of this journey was watching everyone’s growth. “Most of the students on the team lacked practical engineering and conversational AI experience,” mentioned Arbit. “However, after these months, everyone became so experienced and ready to tackle any kind of problem to build the socialbot. We feel like fathers and mothers to our bot. Watching our child’s growth and seeing it become better with time was the best part. When we deployed to production in the beginning, it was really awful. Lots of people were complaining, but now when we see the user feedback, there are more and more people that enjoy talking to our child, and even want to be its friend."
Check it Out!
Our team attended a special reception to honor our efforts in the #AlexaPrize competition. Click the link to see how it went!
Where Are We Now?
What is Amazon Alexa Prize?
Alexa, Let's Chat.... The Amazon Alexa Prize is an international competition that grants university students the opportunity to improve conversational artificial intelligence. We are trying to create a socialbot that can carry a lasting conversation for about 20 minutes. As the competition progresses, Alexa customers will then get the chance speak with each socialbot to test the effectiveness and success of each system.
2018 Gunrock System Demonstration
- Gunrock: A Social Bot for Complex and Engaging Long Conversations (Yu et al., 2019)
- A Large-Scale User Study of an Alexa Prize Chatbot: Effect of TTS Dynamism on Perceived Quality of Social Dialog (Cohn, Chen, & Yu, 2019)
- Gunrock: Building A Human-Like Social Bot By Leveraging Large Scale Real User Data (Chen et al., 2019)
Gunrock in the News
- Amazon awards Alexa Prize for conversational bots to Gunrock team from UC Davis
- Announcing the 2018 Alexa Prize Winner
- ‘Alexa, who won the $500,000 artificial intelligence prize?’ UC Davis team’s chatbot is champ
- Student Team Wins Amazon Alexa Artificial Intelligence Challenge
- "Alexa, Tell Me More..."
- UC Davis Wins Amazon Alexa AI Competition