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Published: 2020-05-14

Umeå researchers receive international award for best paper on software agents

NEWS Virginia Dignum and Frank Dignum, both professors in AI at Umeå University, receive the best paper award for AAMAS 2020 Blue Sky track.

Text: Mikael Hansson

“Our aim is a call to action for the community to work on social, responsible, beneficial aspects that make agent technology useful for many application areas,” says Virginia Dignum that together with Frank Dignum wrote the awarded paper Agents are Dead. Long live Agents!

Agents are software components that are able to act autonomously based on goals and their perception of the environment. They may be embodied, as in a robot body, or as software as a chatbot on a phone. The emphasis of the Blue Sky Track is on visionary ideas, long-term challenges, and new research opportunities regarding agents. It serves as an incubator for innovative, risky, and provocative ideas.

Researchers are encouraged to contribute with papers that reflect on the future of the research area and its community within the broader AI and computing landscape. Submissions should focus on novel, overlooked, or under-represented application areas to which agent research may contribute; potential paths for agent research to contribute to the state of the art in other AI and computing areas and the other way around; unexplored theoretical grounds for agent research. 

The overall aim is papers that help guide the agent community to achieve in the coming years a leading position within AI and computing research. 

“This is already the second time we receive a AAMAS Blue sky best paper award stressing the importance of social aspects of agents. The first time was in 2014 with a paper entitled 'From autistic to social agents'. On the one hand it is great to see that the community realizes the importance of this issue, but it is a bit frustrating to see that still not much is happening in the field”, says Frank Dignum. 

The Blue Sky Track award was announced at the conference AAMAS 2020, which took place online at underline.io, instead of the original location in Auckland, New Zealand.