Our annual series of conferences has reached its 33rd year and once again was held at Peterhouse College, Cambridge in December. The organising team was the same as in 2012. I acted as conference chair, as well as Technical Stream Chair, with Dan Neagu as my deputy. Miltos Petridis acted as Application Stream Chair, with Jixin Ma as his deputy, and Adrian Hopgood acted as Workshop Organizer. The poster sessions were organized by Nirmalie Wiratunga. The eighteenth UK Case-Based Reasoning Workshop, which ran during the first day of the conference, was organized by Miltos Petridis and Thomas Roth-Berghofer. Rosemary Gilligan acted as Treasurer and was also responsible for Local Arrangements. Ariadne Tampion acted as our publicity officer. Our conference administrator was Mandy Bauer from our parent body the BCS, with paper administration by Bryony Bramer. For the second year a panel session was organised by Ariadne Tampion, this time on the topical subject of 'Could Big Data Become Big Brother?'. I am most grateful to all the organisers for their efforts on our behalf.
The final programme included papers by authors from 16 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 eighteenth UK Case-Based Reasoning Workshop the conference included workshops on 'Visual Analytics - Present and Future of Human-Computer Interaction in Data Analytics', 'Big Data for AI', 'Social Media Analysis' and 'Computational Optimisation for Practical Applications'. 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 ConferenceExpert 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 XXX, incorporating Applications and Innovations in Intelligent Systems XXI. A Special Issue of the international journal Kunstliche Intelligenz containing substantially expanded versions of the best application papers from AI-2012 appeared during the year and a Special Issue of the international journal Expert Systems containing substantially expanded versions of the best technical papers is currently in press.
Our Research Student Forum, FAIRS, continued for a seventh year. This is a free event for PhD and MRes/MPhil research students in the AI field, running on a preliminary day before the workshop day of the conference, organised by Paul Trundle (University of Bradford) and Giovanna Martinez (Nottingham Trent University). 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 2012 Jixin Ma and Thomas Roth-Berghofer were elected to the SGAI committee for three years. Shortly after the AGM Patrick Fogarty resigned from the committee, causing a casual vacancy. In accordance with the Group's Constitution, Sid Shakya was elected by the committee to fill this vacancy until the 2013 AGM.
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 our publication 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. Our Twitter presence continues at @bcs_sgai (with hashtags #sgaiconf, #ukkdd, #realai and #micomp).
The seventh in our series of UK Symposia on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining took place in London in March and was another successful event in this long-running series.
The latest in our series of 'Real AI' events was held at the BCS London office in October, organised by Gilbert Owusu and Sid Shakya from BT. This event is designed to showcase practical applications of artificial intelligence, of particular interest to business and industry. The intention had been that this daytime event would be followed by the next in our series of BCS Machine Intelligence competitions as an evening event in the same location. Unfortunately the latter event had to be cancelled due to lack of sufficient suitable entries and was replaced at short notice by a free hands-on event on Conversational Agents organised by Collette Curry from Manchester Metropolitan University.
The Group's membership stood at 1,212 on November 18th 2013, none of them paying us a membership fee.