The Foundation for Knowledge Based Systems (SKBS) continued their policy of awarding the SKBS prize to the best demonstration of the Demo-session of the BNAIC 2017.

The 2017 referee committee consisted of Jaap van den Herik (chair, UL, SKBS), Bart Verheij (RUG), Tibor Bosse (vz. BNVKI, VUA, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen), Annet Onnes (RUG, studentlid), Nico Roos (UM) en Katrien Breuls (VUB).

The referee committee had to consider six submissions which were eligible for the SKBS prize. In Table 1 we list them by topic (in the order of their publication in the Conference Program BNAIC 2017).

1.     Jonathan Gerbscheid, Thomas Groot and Arnoud Visser
Intelligent News Conversation with the Pepper Robot
2.     Dennis Steckelmacher, Hélène Plisnier, Diederik M. Roijers and Ann NowéHierarchical Reinforcement Learning for a Robotic Partially Observable Task
3.     Peter Vamplew, Dean Webb, Luisa M Zintgraf, Diederik M. Roijers, Richard Dazeley, Rustam Issabekov and Evan Dekker
MORL-Glue: A Benchmark Suite for Multi-Objective Reinforcement Learning
4.     Tijn van der Zant and Lars Zwanepol Klinkmeijer
Robocup HQ: A new benchmark focusing on AI, HMI and Autonomous Agents
5.     Manon Legrand, Roxana Rădulescu, Diederik M. Roijers and Ann Nowé
The SimuLane Highway Traffic Simulator for Multi-Agent Reinforcement Learning
6.     Benjamin Timmermans, Zoltán Szlávik, Manfred Overmeen and Alessandro Bozzon
ECrowd: Enterprise Crowdsourcing for Training Cognitive Systems using the Workforce 

Table 1: The 2017 candidates of the SKBS prize.

Since 1999 we have seen many different appearances of the Demo-session. The common characteristic is the emphasis on being “an industrial exhibition”. Up to 2006 the prize money was provided by SKBS only. The Foundation for Knowledge Based Systems originates from the late 1980s as a foundation within SPIN (Stimulerings Projectteam In Nederland). The Foundation SNN (Stichting Neurale Netwerken) is another well-known member of the former SPIN. SNN supported SKBS financially with augmenting the SKBS prize in 2007. In 2008, the industrial partner Strukton announced its willingness to participate in the prize funding. The extra contribution was gratefully accepted. They continued this policy in 2009, 2010, and 2011. Since 2012 SKBS sponsors the BNAIC by Euro 500,- for the best demo Award.

In 2017, six submissions were exhibited in three demonstration rooms for the SKBS prize. All six demos were very interesting, but in fact of a different type. In the early years, say 1999-2006 we usually had 8 to 12 demo’s, but the last ten years the number was between 4 and 8. Obviously, in Amsterdam 2016 we had a heyday for the demo session (with eleven demos). Obviously, over the years, the quality of the contributions has raised. It was a pleasure to see and assess the ingenuity of the demo designers and demo implementations. The jury (referee committee) was given the task to take the following items into consideration by scoring them between 1 and 10: (a) relation to AI, (b) originality, (c) applicability (or is it already a (full-fledged) application?), (d) does it contribute to the further development of AI?, (e) the generalisability to other AI applications/domains, and (f) the contribution to Society (Valorisation).

All in all, the referee committee had a difficult task. The procedure went in shifts: from six we reduced the number of candidates to three and finally to one.

The main observations were as follows. There was a breakthrough of ideas on (1) the robotics, in particular by controlling them via intelligent communication and (2) interaction.

The first prize was assigned to Dennis Steckelmacher, Hélène Plisnier, Diederik M. Roijers and Ann Nowé for the demo Hierarchical Reinforcement Learning for a Robotic Partially Observable Task.

The prize is €500,- and has been awarded to the Robot Team of the Vrije Universiteit Brussels.

In Table 2 we provide an overview of the winners of the SKBS prize so far.


1999 Maastricht

M. van Wezel, J. Sprenger, R. van Stee, and H. La Poutré

Neural Vision 2.0 – Exploratory Data Analysis with Neural Networks

2000 Kaatsheuvel (shared prize)

E. Zopfi


G. Schram


2001 Amsterdam

Alexander Ypma, Rob Kleiman, Jan Valk, and Bob Duin

MINISOM – A System for Machine Health Monitoring with Neural Networks

2002 Leuven

F. Brazier, D. Mobach, and B. Overeinder

AgentScape Demonstration

2003 Nijmegen

Bert Kappen, Wim Wiegerinck, Ender Akay, Marcel Nijman, Jan Neijt, and André van Beek

Promedas: A Diagnostic Decision Support System

2004 Groningen

Wouter Teepe

The Secret Prover: Proving Possession of Arbitrary Files While not Giving Them Away

2005 Brussels

Gerald de Jong

Fluidiom: The Evolution of Locomotion

2006 Namur

Marion Verduijn, Niels Peek, Peter Rosseel, Evert de Jonge, and Bas de Mol

Procarsur: A System for Prognostic Reasoning in Cardiac Surgery

2007 Utrecht

Tim Harbers, Rob van der Veen, Marten den Uyl

Sentient Demonstration BNAIC 07: Vicavision

2008 Enschede (shared prize)

Joris Maervoet, Patrick De Causmaecker, and Greet Vanden Berghe

A Generic Rule Miner for Geographic Data


Dennis Reidsma and Anton Nijholt

Temporal Interaction between an Artificial Orchestra Conductor and Human Musicians

2009 Eindhoven

Tom van Bergen, Maarten Brugmans, Bart Dohmen and Niels Molenaar

Cobes: The clean, safe and hospitable metro

2010 Luxembourg

Willem Burgers, Wim Wiegerinck, and Bert Kappen

Disaster Victim Identification System

2011 Ghent

Wim Vancroonenburg, Jannes Verstichel, Greet Vanden Berghe, and Wouter Souffriau

Efficient aircraft loading: a mixed integer programming approach for the aircraft weight and balance problem

2012 Maastricht

Michel Klein, Nataliya Mogles, and Arlette van Wissen

Demonstration of eMate – Stimulating Behaviour Change via Mobile Phone

2013 Delft

Sjriek Alers, Daniel Claes, Joscha Fossel, Daniel Hennes, and Karl Tuyls

Applied Robotics: Precision Placement in RoboCup@Work

2014 Nijmegen

Steffen Michels, Marina Velikova, Bas Huijbrechts, Peter Novak, Jesper Hoeksma, Roeland Scheepens, Jan Laarhuis, and André Bonhof

Enhancing Operational Work in Maritime Safety-and-Security Tasks. 

2015 Hasselt

Wiebe van Ranst and Joost Vennekes

Ultra-low-latency Endoscopic Image Stabilisation

2016 Amsterdam

Caitlin Lagrand, Patrick M. de Kok, Sébastien Negrijn, Michiel van der Meer and Arnoud Visser

Autonomous robot soccer matches

2017 Groningen
Dennis Steckelmacher, Hélène Plisnier, Diederik M. Roijers and Ann Nowé
Hierarchical Reinforcement Learning for a Robotic Partially Observable Task

Table 2:
Overview of SKBS prizes.