Our annual series of conferences has reached its 35th year and once again was held at Peterhouse College, Cambridge in December. I acted as conference chair, as well as Technical Stream Chair. 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 twentieth 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. Our conference administrator was Mandy Bauer from our parent body the BCS, with paper administration by Bryony Bramer. As an innovation this year I organised a session of short presentations by authors of poster papers, summarising the topics of their posters. This year's panel session was on the topic of 'Is AI an existential threat to humanity? If so, in what way and what can be done about it?'. It was organised by Andrew Lea who also organised the AI Open Microphone session for the second time. I am most grateful to all the organisers for their efforts on our behalf.
The final programme included papers by authors from 14 countries spread across three 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 in each stream of which the principal author was a student. As well as the twentieth UK Case-Based Reasoning Workshop the conference included workshops on 'Visual and Cognitive Analytics' and 'Evolved construction-kits for minds'. 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 XXXII, incorporating Applications and Innovations in Intelligent Systems XXIII. Special Issues of the international journals Expert Systems and Kunstliche Intelligenz containing substantially expanded versions of the best technical papers and the best application papers from AI-2015, respectively, are currently in preparation.
Our Research Student Forum, FAIRS, continued for a ninth year. This is a free event for PhD and MRes/MPhil research students in the AI field, running on the day after the conference, which was organised by Giovanna Martinez (Nottingham Trent University) and Christo Fogelberg (Palantir Technologies). 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.
The term of office of six committee members came to an end at the conclusion of the 2014 AGM. One further committee member, Dr. Paula Buttery, indicated that she wished to step down from the committee with effect from the conclusion of the 2014 AGM. There were therefore seven vacancies to fill for the three years starting immediately after the end of the 2014 AGM. The candidates were: Prof. Max Bramer, Rosemary Gilligan, Prof. Adrian Hopgood, Dr. Gilbert Owusu, Prof. Miltos Petridis, Dr. Simone Teufel and Dr. Nirmalie Wiratunga. As there were seven candidates for seven vacancies no election was necessary and the Chair declared that the candidates listed above had all been elected for 3 years ending at the close of the 2017 AGM.
The use of the Group's 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 latest in our series of 'Real AI' events was held at the BCS London office in October, organised once again 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, and as before proved very successful. The ninth in our series of UK Symposia on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining is scheduled to take place in London in March 2016.
The Group's membership stood at 1,245 on November 19th 2015.