Annual General Meeting

December 16th 2010

Peterhouse College, Cambridge

Chairman's Report to AGM

Our long-running annual series of conferences has now reached its 30th year and once again was held at Peterhouse College, Cambridge in December. This is the nineteenth conference we have organised at Peterhouse since the series moved to Cambridge in December 1992. This year's Conference Chair was Adrian Hopgood from De Montfort University, Leicester. David Elizondo acted as Workshop Organiser. I acted as Technical Stream Chair once again, with Miltos Petridis as Application Stream Chair. The poster sessions were organised by Nirmalie Wiratunga. Alice Kerly organised the FAIRS free event for Research Students. The fifteenth UK Case-Based Reasoning Workshop, which ran during the first day of the conference, was organised by Miltos Petridis. Rosemary Gilligan was Treasurer and was also responsible for Local Arrangements. Our conference administrators were Rachel Browning, Mandy Bauer and Gemma Stanley-Evill from our parent body the BCS, with paper administration by Bryony Bramer. Sid Shakya organised telephone conferences for the organising committee. Richard Ellis and John Gordon joined me in organising the annual Machine Intelligence competition. I should like to thank all those involved for their continued efforts on our behalf.

The final programme included papers by authors from 16 countries spread across four continents. All papers submitted were reviewed by an international panel of expert referees. There were prizes awarded for the best papers in the technical and application streams, the best poster and the best paper of which the principal author was a student. As well as the fifteenth UK Case-Based Reasoning Workshop the conference included workshops on 'Bio-inspired and Bio-Plausible Cognitive Robotics', 'Advances in Artificial/Computational Intelligence and Neuroscience for Brain-Computer Interfaces', 'Artificial Intelligence in Games' and 'Artificial Intelligence in Accounting, Finance and Management'. For the second time an enhanced application programme for the final day of the conference was also marketed as a separate one-day event entitled 'Real AI Day 2010'. I would like to thank Aladdin Ayesh for all his efforts in setting up the program for this in conjunction with Miltos Petridis and with support from Sid Shakya. Papers accepted for poster presentation were again published as short papers in the proceedings. The Group once again subsidised a reduced rate for non-presenting students.

The Machine Intelligence competition ran for the ninth year as a showcase for new developments 'towards machine intelligence' and was co-organised by John Gordon, Richard Ellis and myself. We again used the ConferenceExpert system for electronic submission and reviewing of papers and for handling registrations. The conference proceedings were published by Springer in a single volume under the title Research and Development in Intelligent Systems XXVII, incorporating Applications and Innovations in Intelligent Systems XVIII. A Special Issue of the international journal Knowledge Based Systems appeared during the year, reprinting the best papers from each stream of AI-2009. A further special issue containing extended versions of the best refereed papers from each stream of AI-2010 is now in production.

Our Research Student Forum, FAIRS, continued for a fourth year. This is a free event for PhD and MRes/MPhil research students in the AI field organised by Alice Kerly, running on a preliminary day before the workshop day of the conference. The Forum offered students the opportunity to meet other research students and to discuss their work with senior researchers and practitioners, with sessions covering guidance on conducting research and writing a thesis, feedback on research and research plans, and advice on undergoing a viva.

It is expected that our thirty-first annual conference, AI-2011, will be held in Cambridge in December next year.

At the last AGM in December 2009 David Elizondo, Jixin Ma and Nurten Rende were elected to the committee. However two long-standing members, Frans Coenen and Tony Allen left the committee after the AGM and during the course of the year Nurten Rende and Kirsty Bradbrook also left the committee. This left us with a very depleted committee with no fewer than four vacancies to fill at the 2010 AGM. One direct consequence of this was that it was decided not to proceed with a bid to bring ECAI, the largest European AI conference, to Britain in 2014.

Volume 10 Number 1 of our members' journal Expert Update appeared during the year. A high priority for the coming year will be to get this valuable publication back into regular production. The use of the Groupís website and list server, known for historical reasons as AI-SGES, has continued to develop. The service is open to all (whether or not they are members of the Group) and is free of charge. Full information is available on the Group's website. The Members' Area on the Group's website provides downloading access to the full text of Expert Update back to Volume 8, No.1 as well as access to the full text of the ECCAI journal AI Communications, a state-of-the art review of AI and the SGAI 'AI Information Portal'. Further facilities and services for members will be added as time goes by. A password needed to access the Members' Area has been circulated to all members.

The role, membership and financing of Specialist Groups have continued to be significant topics of discussion in our parent body, the BCS, during the year. A major revision of the Society's regulations for Specialist Groups is currently under discussion. The Group's membership has risen to 1,137 as at December 7th 2010, none of whom now pay us a membership fee.

Max Bramer
Chairman, SGAI