News details

  • NOVA LINCS is among the 10 research labs selected by Amazon to participate in the Alexa Taskbot research challenge addressing Multimodal Conversational AI
  • Jun 2021
  • The team led by João Magalhães, NOVA LINCS researcher from Multimodal Systems Group and Professor at the Computer Science Department in NOVA School of Science and Technology | FCT NOVA, is among the 10 international research groups selected by Amazon to participate in the Alexa Taskbot research challenge to tackle Multimodal Conversational AI. The team members include Rafael Ferreira (team leader), Diogo Tavares, Diogo Silva, Hélder Rodrigues, Gustavo Gonçalves, Mariana Bonito, Frederico Vicente, Rui Margarido, Paula Figueiredo and David Semedo.

    Conversational assistants are quickly entering different sectors of today’s society. Assistants such as Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, Google Assistant and Microsoft Cortana help users in a wide range of tasks, including travel related bookings, online shopping, information search, playing music, house control, among others. The future generation of conversational assistants will be multimodal and its connection to the physical world will be a groundbreaking advance. Multimodal conversational assistants will be able to guide consumers in manual tasks, making use of recent advances in visual and language communication algorithms between humans and machines. This new level of sophistication demands for new AI algorithms, task planning and a level of computational commonsense knowledge that is largely unexplored. This is the challenge that Amazon proposed to universities all over the world and selected ten teams to participate in this research challenge: six from the USA, three from Europe (two from the UK and one from Portugal) and one from Asia.

    This participation reflects the societal impact potential of the research conducted at the NOVA Laboratory for Computer Science and Informatics at the NOVA School of Science and Technology | FCT NOVA. This research stream, led by Prof João Magalhães at NOVA LINCS, has resulted in conversational agents in both general domains as Wikipedia and in specific domains as online shopping (a collaboration with Farfetch). The depth of the algorithms in target applications such as natural language, computer vision and data in general, make the NOVA LINCS team a rare group with a striking balance of expertise well suited to solve real-world problems.

    More details here.