SimBot Challenge FAQs

Frequently asked questions about the challenge.
General
What is the Alexa Prize?
Alexa is Amazon’s cloud-based voice service available on over 100 million devices from Amazon and third-party device manufacturers. With Alexa, you can build natural voice experiences that offer customers a more intuitive way to interact with the technology they use every day. Our collection of tools, APIs, reference solutions, and documentation makes it easy for anyone to build with Alexa.
Why did Amazon create the Alexa Prize?
The Alexa Prize, an annual university competition dedicated to accelerating the field of conversational artificial intelligence (AI), was created to recognize students from around the globe who are changing the way we interact with technology. The goal is to advance several areas of conversational AI including natural language understanding (NLU), context modeling, dialog management, commonsense reasoning, natural language generation (NLG), and knowledge acquisition.
How does the Alexa Prize support research?
The Alexa Prize is a research testbed for university students to experiment with and advance conversational AI at scale.

Research teams own the intellectual property (IP) in their systems and are encouraged to publish scientific articles on their work. As described in the Official Rules, participating teams grant Amazon a non-exclusive license to any technology or software they develop in connection with the competition.
What new datasets will I have access to as part of the Alexa Prize?
The TEACh dataset as well as a training dataset proprietary to the live interaction portion of the SimBot Challenge will be available to competitors in each phase.
SimBot
What is the SimBot Challenge?
SimBot, a competition focused on helping advance development of next-generation virtual assistants that will assist humans in completing real-world tasks by continuously learning, and gaining the ability to perform commonsense reasoning.

The SimBot Challenge will have two phases: A public benchmark phase, and a live interactions phase. Participants in both phases will build machine-learning models for natural language understanding, human-robot interaction, and robotic task completion. Artificial intelligence challenges addressed in the competition relate to reasoning on language and scene understanding, learning from demonstration, self-learning, and task completion utilizing natural language.

Unlike previous Alexa Prize competitions, the public benchmark challenge phase will be open to university teams, as well as individuals in academia and industry interested in advancing the science of AI and engaging top researchers from around the globe. The SimBot Challenge public benchmark phase is like existing visual language navigation competitions.
What is the difference between the Public Benchmark Challenge and the Live Interaction Challenge?
The Public Benchmark Challenge is open to any individual or team, academic or industry, who wants to complete and submit a model for evaluation and rating during the evaluation period. It is based on the TEACh dataset offered to the research community in October, 2021. The Live Interaction Period’s participation is limited solely to the university-based teams selected for the SimBot Challenge in November 2021 and June, 2022. These teams will each receive Amazon sponsorship to build a SimBot that will compete in a challenge from July, 2022 to September 2022 where they will receive real time ratings and feedback from Alexa Users.
Why is the SimBot - Live Interaction Challenge only limited to university teams?
The SimBot Challenge - live interaction phase is part of the Alexa Prize which is currently limited to universities and university students in Amazon initiatives to advance AI. However, the Public Benchmarking Challenge is open to both academic and university-based teams.
What will my SimBot do?
SimBot will navigate in a virtual environment to complete challenges guided by Alexa users. SimBot will interact with objects in the environment including but not limited to those common to offices and homes. There will be obstacles and hazards introduced to make game play fun and challenging.
How will I build my SimBot?
SimBots will use images from the game and instructions from Alexa users to navigate in a virtual world. Teams will build AI models which recognize objects and scenes as well as understand natural language commands from users. We plan to provide baseline data and a baseline model as a reference but we expect teams to develop new and novel approaches as well as augment the provided data to improve performance.
Eligibility: Public Benchmark Challenge
Phase 1, SimBot challenge
Who is eligible to participate in the public benchmark challenge?
Any individual or team, academic or industry-based.
How do I sign up to participate in the public benchmark challenge?
A registration form will open on November 15, 2021 at alexaprize.com.
Is funding available to university teams competing in the public benchmark challenge?
No, funding is only available to university teams selected to participate in the SimBot Challenge. In addition to the teams selected in 2021 up to four new, high-performing teams from the public benchmark challenge will be invited to apply for the SimBot challenge, live interaction phase for which funding is available. Learn more here.
Who can apply to participate?
Any individual or team can register and participate in the public benchmark phase with exception of parties from Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Syria, and the region of Crimea.

Registration for the public benchmark challenge will open November 15, 2021. The challenge will begin on January 10, 2022.
Do I need to be a certain age?
Participants must be at or above the age of majority in the country, state, province or jurisdiction of residence at the time of registration.
Can I enroll if a family member is an Amazon employee?
Immediate family members and household members of Amazon employees, directors and contractors are not eligible to participate.
Eligibility: SimBot Challenge
Includes sponsored teams for both Public Benchmark and Live Interaction phases
Who can apply to participate?
The Alexa Prize is open to full-time students enrolled in an accredited university, with the exception of universities in Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Syria, and the region of Crimea (see Official Rules). Proof of enrollment will be required to participate.
Can I participate if I don’t attend a university?
No. The Alexa Prize is open only to full-time enrolled university students.
Do I need to be enrolled in a university program throughout the duration of the competition?
All participating team members must remain full-time students in good standing at their university while participating in the competition.
Do I need to be a certain age?
Participants must be at or above the age of majority in the country, state, province or jurisdiction of residence at the time of entry.
Can I enroll if a family member is an Amazon employee?
Immediate family members and household members of Amazon employees, directors and contractors are not eligible to participate. See Official Rules for additional restrictions.
If my team fails to apply for the SimBot Challenge now, will there be any future opportunities to compete in the Live Interaction challenge?
Yes, the initial application period run from October 4-31, 2021. In addition to the teams selected in 2021 up to four new, high-performing university teams from the public benchmark challenge will be invited to apply for the SimBot challenge, live interaction phase for which funding is available. Learn more here.
Will university teams selected post-Public Benchmark Challenge be eligible for funding and for what amount?
Teams selected for the SimBot Challenge in June, 2022 will be eligible for funding.
If my team was not selected during the first application period are we eligible to re-apply in may if we qualify?
Yes. University-based teams that participate in the public benchmark phase are eligible to re-apply for the SimBot challenge between May 9 - 23, 2022. Four new, high-performing university teams from the public benchmark challenge will be invited to apply for the SimBot challenge, live interaction phase for which funding is available. Learn more here.
My team is not completely comprised of university students but we perform well in the public benchmark challenge? Is there an opportunity for us to continue in the competition?
Yes, we plan to continue the public benchmark competition through the end of 2022.
My company does collaborative work with several universities, are we eligible to compete in the live interaction challenge alongside them?
No, only full-time students are eligible to participate in the SimBot challenge, which includes the live interaction period.
My university and another frequently collaborate on projects - is there any exception to the students all enrolled in one university rule?
Applications are limited to students all from the same, single, university.
Teams
How many teams will be selected to participate?
All applications will be reviewed and evaluated by a panel of Amazon experts. Up to ten teams will be selected and sponsored by Amazon. All teams selected in November, 2021 will receive a $250,000 grant while those selected in June, 2022 will receive a $200,000 grant intended to support two full-time students, a month of faculty time, free Alexa devices, and free AWS hosting including access to CPU and GPU based machines, SQL and NoSQL databases, and object storage. See the Official Rules for details.
How many team members can our team have?
There are no minimum or maximum team member requirements. All team members must be enrolled in their university throughout the duration of the competition. All teams will receive a $250,000 grant if selected in November 2021 or a $200,000 grant if selected in June, 2022 regardless of how many members are on the team. We recommend a team with 4-6 students with diverse fields of study or areas of expertise.
Can students from different universities be on the same team?
Teams must be comprised of students attending the same university.
Can one university have more than one team?
Yes, universities may have more than one team.
Can I participate on two separate teams?
You can only be a part of one team for the duration of the competition.
Can undergraduate and graduate students work together?
Yes, teams may be comprised of undergraduate and graduate students.
Do I need a faculty advisor?
All teams must nominate a faculty advisor and include the faculty advisor’s consent in the applications.
What is the role of the faculty advisor?
Faculty advisors will advise students on technical directions and be a sounding board for new ideas, similar to a graduate school advisor. They will also act as the official representative from the university for this competition.
Can we add or remove team members during the competition?
During the competition, faculty advisors may request to remove or add members to the team, subject to approval by Amazon.
Can we discuss our SimBot with faculty or students who aren’t on our team?
Only team members may work on their SimBot. However, the faculty advisor and other students and faculty members at your university may provide support and advice to your team and may co-author technical publications and research papers.
Application process
How do we apply?
Check the SimBot page for the latest update on applications.
What do we need to apply?
Once you have selected your team members, team leader, and faculty sponsor, you are ready to begin the application process.
Do all team members have to apply?
Each team must have a team lead, who should apply on behalf of the whole team. Your application must include all of your team members’ information.
Is there an application fee?
There is no application fee.
How will teams be selected to participate?
All applications will be reviewed by a panel of Amazon employees. Teams will be selected based on the following criteria: (1) the potential scientific contribution to the field; (2) the technical merit of the approach; (3) the novelty of the idea; and (4) an assessment of the team’s ability to execute against their plan. Please be sure to provide enough detail in your application to enable our experts to evaluate your proposal.
Competition details
What is the goal of the challenge?
To develop AI models which advance the state of the art and allow users to naturally interact with a robotic assistant in a virtual world to successfully complete a range of challenges.
How will winners be selected?
Winners will be determined based on the final standings at the completion of the finals period.
Can we use other funding to help us participate in this challenge?
Yes, you may use other funding to support your team, subject to the terms described in the Official Rules. External funding will need to be disclosed by January 1, 2023.
Will Alexa customers be able to engage with our SimBot?
Your team will be required to submit its SimBot for certification and publication by the Amazon Alexa team. After certification, you will enter the Internal Amazon Beta Period, where Amazon employees will test your SimBot and provide feedback. After the Internal Amazon Beta Period, we will allow Amazon Alexa customers to try your SimBot and provide feedback to you. Amazon may impose Availability Criteria, or requirements the SimBot must meet before it will be made available to Alexa users. Availability Criteria may include criteria such as a minimum average customer rating, uptime requirements, and an ability to consistently filter offensive content.
Amazon launched the Echo in the UK, Germany, India, Japan, and other countries. Will localized languages be supported?
Your team must build its SimBot using U.S. English. Your SimBot will be available to Alexa customers in the U.S. Customers in other countries may also access it by setting their Amazon PFM (Preferred Marketplace) to U.S.
Will we publish our research from the Alexa Prize?
Yes. Publishing research papers as an outcome of your work on the Alexa Prize is required for all teams participating in the competition, although teams should not publish Amazon confidential information, as described in the Official Rules. The Alexa Prize requires all teams to submit a technical paper for the Alexa Prize proceedings. Your SimBot will not be selected for the finals if your team does not submit a technical paper for Alexa Prize proceedings. Papers will be published at the end of the competition in an online Proceedings of the Alexa Prize, which will be publicly available.

Teams may also publish research papers in third-party publications and conferences, as long as all papers are provided to Amazon for review at least two weeks before the submission deadlines and no research papers are published before the Alexa Prize proceedings are published without Amazon’s prior approval.
Who will own the intellectual property rights in my submission?
You will retain ownership over your SimBot. Amazon will have a non-exclusive license to any technology or software you develop in connection with the competition. See the Official Rules for details.
Prizes
What are the prizes for winning the competition?
A prize of $500,000 will be awarded to the team that creates the best SimBot. The second-place and third-place finalist teams will receive a $100,000 and a $50,000 prize, respectively. See the contest rules for details.
Do we get a stipend and devices to participate in the Alexa Prize?
Up to ten teams will be sponsored to participate in the Alexa Prize in November, 2021. These teams’ universities will receive a $250,000 research grant to fund the team members’ work over the year. Additional teams selected to participate in the SimBot Live Interaction challenge in June, 2022 will receive a $200,000 research grant to fund the team members’ work over the year.

The sponsorship includes one Alexa-enabled device per team member for up to a total of three devices per team and one Alexa-enabled device per faculty advisor, free AWS services to support the development of their SimBot, and support from the Alexa team.
How can the grant be spent?
The grants will be awarded with the intention that they will support two full-time students for the duration of the Competition and one month of the Faculty Advisor’s salary. No more than 35% of the research grants may be allocated to administrative fees. If your team would like to use the funds in another manner, your faculty advisor must receive approval from Amazon before doing so.
What happens if we are selected and receive a stipend but can no longer participate?
Stipends will be awarded in installments payable to the university. If your team withdraws before any of the installments, remaining funds will not be transferred to the university.
How will the prizes be distributed among a team?
The first, second, and third place prizes will be distributed equally among all registered team members. The official list of registered team members must be confirmed by January 30, 2023.
Timeline
What are the key milestones of the competition?
Teams must submit their applications between October 1, 2021 and October 31, 2021. Between November 1 and November 10, 2021, we will announce teams selected to participate. In the summer of 2022 following the public benchmark phase and the second application period teams will be invited to an Alexa Prize Bootcamp at Amazon where they will receive training on the resources made available to all competing teams. The finals will be scheduled between January 30 and March 27, 2023 and will determine the winning teams in the first annual SimBot Challenge.
If selected, when will we receive the stipend, devices, access to the Alexa Prize SimBot toolkit, our AWS account, and be introduced to our point of contact?
We will reach out to all teams no later than November 10, 2021 with instructions on next steps. Up to ten teams will be selected to receive a $250,000 stipend, Alexa-enabled devices, free AWS services to support their development efforts, and support from the Alexa team.
More information
See the full competition rules or submit your questions. Need assistance? Email: alexaprizesupport@amazon.com

Latest news

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GB, London
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How often have you had an opportunity to be an early member of a team that is tasked with solving a huge customer need through disruptive, innovative technology, reinventing an industry? Do you apply Machine Learning to big data problems? Are you excited by analyzing and modeling terabytes of data that solve real world problems? We love data and have lots of it. We’re looking for an engineer capable of using machine learning and statistical techniques to create solutions for non-trivial, and arguably, unsolved problems. We are working on revolutionizing the way Amazonians work and collaborate. Our team is on a mission to transform productivity through the power of advanced generative AI technologies. In pursuit of this mission we are seeking a motivated Machine Learning Engineer to join our team. The successful candidate will be responsible for developing, implementing, and optimizing machine learning models that will drive our generative AI initiative. This role involves close collaboration with data scientists, software engineers, and UX/UI designers to create a seamless and context-aware AI solution that enhances productivity across various user personas within Amazon. You will join a highly motivated, collaborative and fun-loving team with an entrepreneurial spirit and bias for action. The role will challenge you to think differently, hone your skills, and invent at scale. We're looking for engineers who obsess over technical details but can delight customers by continually learning and building the right products. You will help to invent the future of advertising. Technical Skills needed:- - Programming Languages: Proficiency in Python, including libraries such as TensorFlow, PyTorch, and scikit-learn. - Experience with R or Java is a plus. - Machine Learning and AI: Strong understanding of machine learning algorithms and frameworks. - Experience with natural language processing (NLP) techniques and models. - Familiarity with reinforcement learning and its applications. - Knowledge of supervised and unsupervised learning methods. - Data Preprocessing and Analysis: Expertise in data cleaning, normalization, and transformation. Ability to perform feature engineering and selection. Proficiency in data analysis tools and techniques. - Model Development and Evaluation: Experience in developing, training, and fine-tuning machine learning models. Knowledge of model evaluation metrics such as accuracy, precision, recall, F1-score, and AUC-ROC. Familiarity with cross-validation techniques. - Big Data Technologies: Experience with big data tools and frameworks like Hadoop, Spark, or Kafka. Proficiency in handling large datasets and optimizing data pipelines. - API and Microservices Development: Experience in developing and deploying RESTful APIs. Familiarity with microservices architecture and related technologies. - Cloud Platforms: Experience with cloud platforms such as AWS. Proficiency in using cloud-based machine learning and data storage services. - Security and Privacy: Understanding of data privacy regulations and best practices. Experience with data anonymization techniques and secure data handling. Key job responsibilities 1. Model Development: Design, develop, and implement machine learning models, particularly focusing on natural language processing (NLP) and reinforcement learning techniques. 2. Data Preprocessing: Perform data cleaning, normalization, and feature engineering to prepare datasets for model training. 3. Model Training: Train and fine-tune machine learning models to achieve high accuracy and robustness. 4. Integration: Work with the software engineering team to integrate ML models into the middleware that interfaces with Amazon’s GenAI offerings. 5. Performance Evaluation: Use cross-validation and various performance metrics (e.g., precision, recall, F1-score) to evaluate model performance and ensure their reliability. 6. Continuous Improvement: Implement reinforcement learning strategies to ensure the AI system continuously learns and improves from user interactions. 7. Collaboration: Collaborate with data scientists, software engineers, and UX/UI designers to ensure the models meet user requirements and integrate seamlessly with existing tools. 8. Documentation: Document model architectures, training processes, and evaluation results to ensure transparency and reproducibility. We are open to hiring candidates to work out of one of the following locations: Seattle, WA, USA
US, CA, Pasadena
The Amazon Web Services (AWS) Center for Quantum Computing (CQC) is a multi-disciplinary team of scientists, engineers, and technicians on a mission to develop a fault-tolerant quantum computer. You will be joining a team located in Pasadena, CA that conducts materials research to improve the performance of quantum processors. We are looking to hire a Quantum Research Scientist who will apply their expertise in materials characterization to the optimization of fabricated superconducting quantum devices. In this role, you are expected to lead and assist research projects that are aligned with our Center’s technical roadmap. You will develop new ideas and design experiments aimed at identifying the most promising material systems, characterization techniques, and integration processes for superconducting circuit applications. Key job responsibilities - Conduct experimental studies on the fundamental properties of superconducting, semiconducting, and dielectric thin films - Develop and implement multi-technique materials characterization workflows for thin films and devices, with a focus on the surfaces and interfaces - Work closely with other research scientists on the Materials team to develop material processes directed toward optimizing thin film properties, controlling the surface chemistry and morphology, and impacting device performance - Identify materials properties (chemical, structural, electronic, electrical) that can be a reliable proxy for the performance of superconducting qubits and microwave resonators - Communicate engineering and scientific findings to teammates, the broader CQC and, when appropriate, publish findings in scientific journals A day in the life AWS Utility Computing (UC) provides product innovations — from foundational services such as Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (S3) and Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), to consistently released new product innovations that continue to set AWS’s services and features apart in the industry. As a member of the UC organization, you’ll support the development and management of Compute, Database, Storage, Internet of Things (Iot), Platform, and Productivity Apps services in AWS, including support for customers who require specialized security solutions for their cloud services. Diverse Experiences AWS values diverse experiences. Even if you do not meet all of the qualifications and skills listed in the job description, we encourage candidates to apply. If your career is just starting, hasn’t followed a traditional path, or includes alternative experiences, don’t let it stop you from applying. Why AWS? Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud platform. We pioneered cloud computing and never stopped innovating — that’s why customers from the most successful startups to Global 500 companies trust our robust suite of products and services to power their businesses. Inclusive Team Culture Here at AWS, it’s in our nature to learn and be curious. Our employee-led affinity groups foster a culture of inclusion that empower us to be proud of our differences. Ongoing events and learning experiences, including our Conversations on Race and Ethnicity (CORE) and AmazeCon (gender diversity) conferences, inspire us to never stop embracing our uniqueness. Mentorship & Career Growth We’re continuously raising our performance bar as we strive to become Earth’s Best Employer. That’s why you’ll find endless knowledge-sharing, mentorship and other career-advancing resources here to help you develop into a better-rounded professional. Work/Life Balance We value work-life harmony. Achieving success at work should never come at the expense of sacrifices at home, which is why we strive for flexibility as part of our working culture. When we feel supported in the workplace and at home, there’s nothing we can’t achieve in the cloud. Hybrid Work We value innovation and recognize this sometimes requires uninterrupted time to focus on a build. We also value in-person collaboration and time spent face-to-face. Our team affords employees options to work in the office every day or in a flexible, hybrid work model near one of our U.S. Amazon offices. About the team Our team contributes to the fabrication of processors and other hardware that enable quantum computing technologies. Doing that necessitates the development of materials with tailored properties for superconducting circuits. Research Scientists and Engineers on the Materials team operate deposition and characterization systems in order to develop and optimize thin film processes for use in these devices. They work alongside other Research Scientists and Engineers to help deliver fabricated devices for quantum computing experiments. We are open to hiring candidates to work out of one of the following locations: Pasadena, CA, USA
US, CA, Sunnyvale
Help re-invent how millions of people watch TV! Fire TV remains the #1 best-selling streaming media player in the US. Our goal is to be the global leader in delivering entertainment inside and outside the home, with the broadest selection of content, devices and experiences for customers. Our science team works at the intersection of Recommender Systems, Information Retrieval, Machine Learning and Natural Language Understanding. We leverage techniques from all these fields to create novel algorithms that allow our customers to engage with the right content at the right time. Our work directly contributes to making our devices delightful to use and indispensable for the household. Key job responsibilities - Drive new initiatives applying Machine Learning techniques to improve our recommendation, search and entity matching algorithms - Perform hands-on data analysis and modeling with large data sets to develop insights that increase device usage and customer experience - Design and run A/B experiments, evaluate the impact of your optimizations and communicate your results to various business stakeholders - Work closely with product managers and software engineers to design experiments and implement end-to-end solutions - Setup and monitor alarms to detect anomalous data patterns and perform root cause analyses to explain and address them - Be a member of the Amazon-wide Machine Learning Community, participating in internal and external MeetUps, Hackathons and Conferences - Help attract and recruit technical talent; mentor junior scientists We are open to hiring candidates to work out of one of the following locations: Sunnyvale, CA, USA