Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Loebner Prize 2013: Three of Four Finalists are Pandorabots

We're pleased to announce that three out of the four finalists for this year's Loebner Prize Contest are AIML Pandorabots.    The Loebner Prize is an annual Turing Test contest to select the world's most human like conversation program.   Our own ALICE bot has been awarded the top annual prize three times: in 2000, 2001 and 2004.  Contest organizer Professor Paul McKevitt announced the four finalists for this year's contest on June 24.   Out of 15 entries to the contest, the four top ranked bots are:

`Mitsuku' by Steve Worswick (`Square Bear') (Pandorabot)
`Izar' by Brian Rigsby (Pandorabot)
`Tutor' by Ron C. Lee (Pandorabot)
`Rose' by Bruce Wilcox (ChatScript bot)

To open up the contest to more AIML bots than just ALICE, Pandorabots developed a platform to submit multiple entries for the Loebner Prize.   Although all our entries use the same platform, the AIML content of each entry differs substantially and each entry is created by a different botmaster.  The Pandorabots Loebner Prize program implements all of the installation and communication requirements of the Loebner contest, allowing the botmasters to focus on developing creative bot content.  We began experimenting with  multiple pandorabot entries to the Loebner contest in 2010, when we submitted 3 entries (ALICE, Khloe and Mitsuku).  In 2011 we added Tutor and, that year, two of our entries were finalists.  In 2012 we added The Professor, for a total of 5 entries.  This year we submitted six, adding the Izar bot from the BackTack app and replacing ALICE with ALICE 2.0.

The final round of this year's Loebner contest will be held at the University of Ulster in Londonderry, Northern Ireland on September 14.   Asked about his experience organizing the event, Professor McKevitt said, "What I like best about organising this contest for the first time on the island of Ireland is learning about the capability of the various chatbots, i.e. their strengths and their limitations. We discovered this during the shortlisting process when we determined the 4 finalists for the main contest. My Ph.D. thesis was entitled Analysing coherence of intention in natural language dialogue (Exeter University, England),  and I've researched in the field of Natural Language Processing for 28 years now. I also enjoy meeting and talking with the people who have created the chatbots. Writing and storytelling have always been important in Ireland with celebrated writers and poets such as Yeats, Swift, Shaw, Beckett and Joyce and the conversation is always flowing here --we have all heard the old saying about an eloquent person having kissed the Blarney Stone! --I think some of the best chatbots have done so!"  The four finalists will be busy upgrading and improving their bots in advance of the final competition, hoping their programs will achieve that gift of the gab bestowed on Blarney Stone kissers!

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