The 13th Pacific Rim International Conference on Artificial Intelligence  recently took place on the Gold Coast in December, setting the stage for the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AI) which will take place in Melbourne in 2017.

The biennial Pacific Rim International Conference on Artificial Intelligence (PRICAI), held from December 1-5, 2014, focuses on AI theories, technologies and their social and economic impact in countries throughout the Pacific Rim region.

Chair of the 13th PRICAI, University of NSW professor and National ICT Australia researcher, Toby Walsh, said Australia is a “significant player” in AI, with the five-day Gold Coast meeting seeing strong representation from leading local tertiary institutions including the University of Queensland, Griffith University, and the Queensland University of Technology.

More than 240 delegates attended from 30 countries, with the largest percentage of delegates from China, Australia and Japan.

Professor Walsh said as well as Australian expertise in AI and a strong conference program, the Gold Coast was a clear draw card for delegates.

“The Gold Coast is an attractive destination and is well-known to our Chinese and Japanese neighbours particularly.

“The accessibility to the Gold Coast also assisted us in achieving the numbers we had, with direct flights from many countries to either Brisbane or the Gold Coast,” he said.

PRICAI 2014 was held at the Mantra Legends Hotel located in the heart of Surfers Paradise, less than 100 metres to patrolled beaches, shopping, dining and the world famous Gold Coast nightlife.

Professor Walsh said a highlight of the social program was cocktails and dinner on levels 77 and 78 of the SkyPoint Observation Deck at the top of the iconic Q1 Resort & Spa – Australia’s tallest residential tower.

“We had a band there who did exceptionally well to get us up dancing because I did warn them that we were quite a geeky crowd. The 80’s music helped. We had nothing but praise for this night with one delegate saying it was the best conference dinner event he had ever been to,” Professor Walsh said.

Professor Walsh also praised the team at Business Events Gold Coast and the assistance they offered prior to the event.

“They arranged flights for inspections and some accommodation rooms, and really went out of their way to help us with selecting the venues,” he said.

Gold Coast Tourism CEO, Martin Winter, said hosting PRICAI 2014 was a good fit for the destination.

“The Gold Coast’s three universities have some of the world’s leading practitioners and thinkers in the field of artificial intelligence, and being such a young and dynamic society, it lives squarely in the now and tomorrow.

“When you add to this some of the world’s best venues, a great selection of accommodation and a support industry full of business event professionals that deliver, the Gold Coast is an easy choice for decision makers,” he said.

Professor Walsh is expected to chair the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence that will be held in Melbourne in 2017 with more than 1000 delegates expected to attend.