Auckland wins international AI conference

Auckland will be the first city in New Zealand to host an upcoming global artificial intelligence conference after winning a bid to host the 2020 event.

The International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (AAMAS) will bring more than 500 delegates when it comes to New Zealand for the first time in its nearly 20-year history.

A venue is yet to be confirmed for the five-day conference that will be held in April/May 2020 and is set to deliver more than 2400 visitor nights and nearly $900,000 in economic value to the region.

The New Zealand bid team was led by Dr Quan Bai at Auckland University of Technology (AUT), and Professor Michael Winikoff from the University of Otago – with support from Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development’s Auckland Convention Bureau (ACB) and Tourism New Zealand’s Conference Assistance Programme.

It is the latest in a string of wins for ACB and Auckland where SKYCITY’s 32,500 sq ft New Zealand International Convention Centre is expected to be complete in late 2019.

The NZICC has currently booked 14 international conferences at the venue, which will see around 27,000 delegates visit Auckland between 2020 and 2022.

Seven of the meetings has been formally announced and will generate an estimated $31.75m in economic impact including 84,000 guest nights.

Head of ACB, Anna Hayward said: “Securing another significant international conference brings great opportunities for Auckland and New Zealand’s scientists to showcase their world-class expertise to an influential international audience, and to build important global relationships.

“Following hot on the heels of a series of major recent international business event wins ACB has assisted with, this is further great news for Auckland and New Zealand’s visitor economy.”

In the year ending July 2017, the economic value of the events won by ACB, in conjunction with ACB members and industry partners, was valued at $46m.

This saw the region hosting more than 28,000 international and domestic delegates between June 2016 and July 2017, who stayed a total of 124,365 visitor nights

Dr Bai, Senior Lecturer at AUT’s School of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences, says it will be just the second time in 20 years that AAMAS will be held in Oceania: “That is fantastic recognition of New Zealand’s emergence in the highly specialised world of autonomous agents and multi-agent systems.

“It wasn’t easy to win the bid against strong competition, and the hard work isn’t over. In fact, it starts all over again now as we aim to deliver a fantastic, highly successful AAMAS.”

Tourism New Zealand’s manager of business events and premium, Lisa Gardiner, said: “Attracting globally-renowned conferences such as this one support Tourism New Zealand’s strategy to grow the value of international tourism to New Zealand.

“They benefit the economy and support sector growth, including the creation of high value jobs for New Zealanders.”

AAMAS is the largest and most influential global conference focused on agents and multi-agent systems – key elements of artificial intelligence which are widely applied in robotics, smart mobile systems and decision support systems.

The conference will bring together researchers and practitioners in all areas of agent technology and provide a single, high-profile forum for research in theory and practice.

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