Annual General Meeting

December 15th 2011

Peterhouse College, Cambridge

Chairman's Report to AGM

Our long-running annual series of conferences has reached its 31st year and once again was held at Peterhouse College, Cambridge in December. This is the twentieth conference we have organized at Peterhouse since the series moved to Cambridge in December 1992. This year's Conference Chair was Lars Nolle from Nottingham Trent University. Adrian Hopgood acted as Workshop Organizer. I acted as Technical Stream Chair once again, with Dan Neagu as my deputy. Miltos Petridis acted as Application Stream Chair, with Jixin Ma as his deputy. The poster sessions were organized by Nirmalie Wiratunga. Alice Kerly organized the FAIRS free event for Research Students. The sixteenth UK Case-Based Reasoning Workshop, which ran during the first day of the conference, was organized by Miltos Petridis. Rosemary Gilligan was Treasurer and was also responsible for Local Arrangements. Our conference administrators were Mandy Bauer and Gemma Stanley-Evill from our parent body the BCS, with paper administration by Bryony Bramer. An innovation this year was a special session entitled 'Alan Turing and the Turing Test for Machine Intelligence', organized by myself, as an early commemoration of the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of the celebrated British Mathematician, code breaker and Artificial Intelligence Pioneer, who was born in London in June 1912. This replaced the usual 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 14 countries spread across five 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 sixteenth UK Case-Based Reasoning Workshop the conference included workshops on 'Machine Learning and Intelligent Autonomous Systems', 'Applications of AI in Geospatial Information Systems', 'Towards Autonomic Road Transport Support Systems' and 'Introduction to Artificial Intelligence'. An enhanced application programme for the final day of the conference was again marketed as a separate one-day event entitled 'Real AI Day 2011'. This was organized by myself in conjunction with Aladdin Ayesh. Papers accepted for poster presentation were again published as short papers in the proceedings. The Group once again subsidized a reduced rate for non-presenting students.

We again used the Conference Expert system for electronic submission and reviewing of papers. The conference proceedings were published by Springer in a single volume under the title Research and Development in Intelligent Systems XXVIII, incorporating Applications and Innovations in Intelligent Systems XIX. A Special Issue of the international journal Knowledge Based Systems reprinting the best papers from each stream of AI-2010 is currently in press.

Our Research Student Forum, FAIRS, continued for a fifth year. This is a free event for PhD and MRes/MPhil research students in the AI field organized 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.

At the last AGM in December 2010 Aladdin Ayesh, Pat Fogarty, Daniel Neagu and Ariadne Tampion were all elected to the committee for three years. Lars Nolle was subsequently co-opted at the committee meeting in January 2011 for one year. The availability of an enhanced number of committee members this year has enabled us to establish a Publicity Group chaired by Ariadne Tampion and an Industry Group chaired by Pat Fogarty. The Group now has a Twitter account named bcs_sgai, with Ariadne Tampion responsible for maintaining our Twitter presence.

Volume 10 Number 2 of our electronic members' journal Expert Update appeared during the year, including papers from some of the recent UK CBR Workshops. Other issues are in the pipeline. The journal now has its own website at http://www.expertupdate.org/. The use of the Groupís website and our list server AI-SGES has continued to develop. The list server 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.

A valuable development during the year was the relaunch of our series of UK Symposia on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining. This series is intended to provide a forum for discussion, dissemination and exchange of ideas between practitioners and researchers working within the broad field of Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (KDD). The sixth in the series was organized by Miltos Petridis, Dan Neagu and myself. It was held as a one-day event at the BCS London Office in September to follow up previous successful events in Liverpool, Norwich, Canterbury, Bristol and Salford.

Discussions concerning the role, membership and financing of Specialist Groups have continued in our parent body, the BCS, during the year. The Group's membership has risen to 1,199 as at November 30th 2011, none of whom now pay us a membership fee.

Max Bramer
Chairman, SGAI
http://www.bcs-sgai.org