The University of Southampton

Southampton AI experts host leading international conference for autonomous agent systems

Published: 7 May 2021
Attendees are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the influential international conference.

Global experts in artificial intelligence (AI) and autonomous agent systems are unveiling ground-breaking advances in their field at an online international conference hosted by the University of Southampton.

The 20th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (AAMAS) is examining some of the discipline’s hottest topics including explainable AI, multi-agent reinforcement learning, trust, and AI ethics.

AAMAS is the flagship conference for the autonomous agent systems research community and has been organised this year by several members of Southampton’s School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS).

Dr Enrico Gerding, Director of Southampton’s Centre for Machine Intelligence, says: "ECS, and the Agents, Interaction and Complexity (AIC) Research Group in particular, has a long history of publishing at this conference, and we are one of the largest groups to work in this field.

"It is a great honour that we were able to win the bid to host the conference in the UK. The plan was to for the conference to be held at the ExCeL conference centre in London, but due to the pandemic it is now fully online. We are greatly looking forward to sharing the latest developments in the field at this internationally renowned forum."

An autonomous agent is an AI system that proactively interacts with its environment, while multi-agent systems consist of many interacting agents - and often people - to solve complex problems.

More than 1,000 researchers and practitioners have registered for this spring's AAMAS conference, with over 300 additional registrations for satellite workshops and tutorials.

Dr Gerding is part of the event's Local Organising Team, with Southampton's Dr Sebastian Stein serving as one of two Local Chairs. AIC researcher Dr Bahar Rastegari is acting as the AAMAS Exhibition Chair, with ECS undergraduate student Balint Gusci supporting as Webmaster.

Former ECS student Lewis Hill has generated a virtual networking space for conference attendees. The Gather Town map is designed with highlights of UK symbols including Big Ben, Stonehenge and a British pub.

The conference opened on Monday and commenced with two days of workshops, tutorials, and the doctoral consortium.

The main conference will advance between Wednesday and Friday and includes sessions with keynote speakers Cynthia Breazeal from MIT Media Lab, Noam Brown from Facebook AI Research, Vincent Conitzer from Duke University and University of Oxford, Orna Kupferman from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Shimon Whiteson of University of Oxford and Waymo UK.

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