How AAMAS Boosted Their Conference Attendance with Virtual

AAMAS (International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems) is a very important artificial intelligence meeting, and the largest and most influential conference in the area of agents and multiagent systems. AAMAS brings together researchers and practitioners in all areas of agent technology and provides an internationally renowned high-profile forum for learning about the latest developments in the field. AAMAS is the flagship conference of the non-profit International Foundation for Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (IFAAMAS).

Every summer, several hundred attendees travel from all over the world to share their latest advancements and research at the International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems (AAMAS) — whose subject matter falls under a subfield of computer science and touches everything from artificial intelligence to machine learning to game theory.

In March of 2020 the pandemic was still in its infancy, but it became clear by mid-month that AAMAS was not going to happen as planned. The conference was due to kick off on May 9, 2020, in Auckland, New Zealand, and with shutdowns beginning to happen everywhere, the organizing committee had just seven weeks before the planned in-person event. Thankfully, Underline was able to step in and help AAMAS quickly pivot to a virtual event.

A Quick Pivot to Virtual Thanks to Underline, the AAMAS annual conference ran entirely online from May 9-13. Underline’s platform hosted the full schedule — which included pre-recorded presentations, along with keynotes live-steamed from thought leaders, research laboratories and multiple universities around the world. The conference library offered 478 total presentations, lectures, and videos, all of which are accessible on Underline — along with slides, demos, abstracts, and tutorials. In addition, Underline created a virtual stage, and utilized a professional live host to moderate the keynote presentations and Q & A sessions.

Virtual Event Had its Rewards Throughout the year, many events had to shift to virtual, and while for some, this was anxiety-inducing, for others, it was an opportunity. Because they were not limited by the constraints of a meeting venue, or an on-site hotel, Underline was able to help AAMAS increase registration capacity. Conference chairs were very pleased with the turnout. In total, nearly 4,000 individual users accessed the conference. With the estimated in-person attendance pegged at approximately 400 – this marked a 10-fold increase in attendance.

“We would have had 400 people at the in-person meeting planned for Auckland, and we had more than 1,300 people watching on day one.”

Gita Sukthankar, Associate Professor, University of Central Florida, General Chair, AAMAS 2020

In addition, AAMAS was able to secure the top speakers in the field, since they could do their videos from home, and not have to worry about travel and time constraints.

Keynote Speaker: Thore Graepel, Google DeepMind

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