Convention Organiser's Job Description


The organiser has overall responsibility for the convention program, local arrangements (including accommodation and facilities) and financial management. However, the organiser may choose to delegate local arrangements to an assistant, and program detail is mostly delegated to individual symposium organisers (see below). An important responsibility of the convention organiser is to arrange for an attractive set of invited plenary speakers.



The convention is a group of symposia all running more or less in parallel over a period of 4-5 days. Each symposium has its own convener who is in charge of that symposium's technical program.

The convention also features a number of plenary talks which run separately from the individual symposia.



The convention organiser should solicit proposals for symposia from the community. The AISB welcomes proposals from both UK and International figures and the convention organiser is encouraged to seek international organisers for some of the symposia. The convention organiser should recommend an appropriate choice of these proposals to the AISB committee who approve that choice.

Most symposia will run for 1 or 2 days so, in general, there will be several running in parallel at any one time.

The convention always also has some invited plenary speakers who are timetabled in periods when no symposia runs. In addition to these speakers, individual symposia may of course choose to have invited talks of their own, open only to participants in those symposia.

WARNING: We have a couple of times been bitten by plenary speakers charging for Business-class travel when the convention was budgeted on an understanding they would be travelling standard class. We would urge, therefore, organisers to be aware of this and make it clear, up front, when inviting speakers that the invitation is based on an understanding that they will travel economy class.

The AISB requires an opportunity during the convention for the Chair to make a welcome address to attendees.

The convention timetable must include time for the AGM of the AISB. This usually takes place in a lunch break and should not occur on the first or last days of the convention. The AGM should not occur in parallel with any other session. This is to ensure maximum possible attendance at the AGM. The meeting does not require more than 1 hour of time set aside for it.

Some time prior to the AGM (but not necessarily on the same day, and preferably at least half a day earlier) there is also a committee meeting of the society. This committee meeting serves as the AGM of the company associated with the society and is an important reporting occasion for committee officers, including the convention organiser. A small room should be made available somewhere for this. The committee meeting may take place in parallel with other sessions. The fellows of the AISB are also invited to this meeting so if a "fellows dinner" or other event to which they are invited is scheduled as part of the convention then the committee recommend that the committee meeting be timetabled immediately before this event.

The AISB offers a student prize. The format for this varies from year to year and should be agreed with the AISB committee.



The proposed budget and registration fees for the convention need to be ratified by the Society. The mechanism for this is that they should be submitted to the AISB Treasurer for approval in good time before the Convention. Detailed accounts should also be submitted to the Treasurer by an agreed date after the Convention.

An appropriate break-even point for the convention should be negotiated with the AISB Treasurer in advance. It is understood that any surplus will be handed over to the AISB funds after the convention. In return the AISB undertakes to underwrite the convention financially once the budget has been agreed. Any arrangements made with the host institution to provide conference facilities etc. should be made with this in mind (ie. the host institution should charge the convention explicitly for services, or agree a share of any surplus with the Treasurer, rather than expecting to receive any and all surplus). The AISB may, if necessary, advance cash to a convention in order to pay for upfront expenses such as room hire.

In general all individual symposium expenditure is covered by the convention. In general we advise that symposium invited speakers and symposium organisers are not offered expenses, free registration or accommodation since this can have a severe impact on the convention budget. However it is not unknown for a convention to offer each symposia a small budget (e.g., 100 UKP) which can be used for inviting speakers if so desired. If the convention organiser wishes to provide such a budget, free registration or accommodation then this should be shown in the budget submitted to the AISB Treasurer in advance. Whatever is decided it is important that it is made clear to symposia organisers at the time their proposal is accepted whether or not they can expect any kind of financial assistance towards speakers etc. This avoids unnecessary problems and misunderstandings later on.

In some cases symposia have an identity of their own outside the convention (eg., they might be events in a separate conference series. In this case the organisers may well wish to have a separately managed budget, in part at least. Such symposia are referred to as collocated symposia or workshops. The AISB has recommendations for how finances be managed in these cases which are available from the secretary ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ). The convention organiser is responsible for making sure that arrangements for the distribution of registration fees and payment for services are agreed with collocated workshops well in advance of the convention. The Committee may be able to provide help in negotiating a suitable agreement.

Registration is usually split into a number of categories, in particular providing different rates for students and for non-AISB members. As general rule registration for non-AISB members is usually set to be more expensive than registration for AISB members + the cost of joining (i.e., the differential pricing acts as an incentive to join the society). The registration form should therefore include an option for joining the Society and the convention organiser should then send the list of new members and a cheque covering their fees to the AISB administrative office (AISB Executive Office, CASA-Conference Services, School of Science and Technology, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton, BN1 9QH). In recent years we have trialled "Category Two Registration" which includes "free membership" of the society at a reduced rate from standard registration. This has proved very successful and is currently the committee's preferred method for handling the joint registration+membership option.

People registering for the full convention will usually expect to receive two sets of proceedings for free and they should receive at least the proceedings for the symposium/a they register for.

Student helpers often receive discounts or free registration as does a student prepared to write a report for the Quarterly (this should be negotiated in conjunction with the Editor of the Quarterly who may have guidelines governing such reports).

The AISB has a Student Travel Award scheme and, in recent years, has been prepared to allocate several of these awards to the convention. The normal conditions for such awards are expected to apply, in particular that the student provide an article for AISBQ. In discussion with the editor of the AISBQ such an article can be an outline of the student's work (often more appropriate than a conference report when several awards are made to the same conference). In negotiation with the treasurer it may be possible to include "free membership" of the society with the award instead of requiring recipients to be members in advance. It is the society's preference that the awards are administered separately, through the society's processes rather than allocating funds directly to the convention however this can be negotiated with the treasurer.

If the organiser wishes or needs to, he/she may apply for grants or other types of sponsorship for the convention. In such cases the organiser has the responsibility for the process, but the Committee is willing to help by providing reports of past experience, copies of past grant proposals, contacts with sponsors, etc. In the past some convention organisers have successfully negotiated sponsorship or other assistance from their local government or tourist board and this may well be worth pursuing.

Eurospan Limited have expressed an interest in donating books as prizes at our events. Our current contact with Eurospan is Phillipa Rimmer ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ).



Usually the convention produces individual proceedings for each symposium, not a combined volume covering the whole convention. The convention organiser is responsible for the production of these proceedings.

Sample style files for symposium proceedings are available from the AISB committee web page though there is no requirement to use these. There is also a sample copyright transfer form. This was prepared by a lawyer for the AISB 2006 convention and gives the AISB the right put the proceedings on our web pages and to grant permission for reprinting of the material to third parties. At the same time individual authors to retain the right to re-publish the material themselves elsewhere as they chose. It is necessary that all material that appears on the society web pages and in published proceedings be covered by this transfer or something similar.

ISBN numbers for these proceedings can be obtained from the Society Publications officer. There are required formats which must be followed for the index pages of each volume and a copy of each must be lodged with the British Library. The AISB Publications Officer can provide the necessary details. The cost of printing should be met through the convention budget.

The convention organiser should also liaise with the Editors of the AISBJ about producing a special issue for convention papers. Individual symposium chairs can then nominate their best papers for inclusion in this special issue, although these will have to go though the AISBJ's own refereeing process.

The convention organiser should ensure that the AISB has the right to distribute these proceedings through the AISB website and to grant permission for diagrams etc. to be used in other works if relevant. Appropriate copyright transfer wording is available from the committee website.



The convention organiser is responsible for all aspects of publicising the event.

The original call for proposals should be sent (at the very least) to the AISB administrative office ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) for inclusion in the Weekly Bulletin. The convention organiser is also advised to publicise this widely in other appropriate places.

Symposium organisers should be encouraged to publicise their individual symposium as they deem appropriate. A general email call for participation should also be issued by the convention organiser and sent (at the very least) to the AISB administrative office for inclusion in the Weekly Bulletin. The convention organiser is also advised to publicise this widely in other appropriate places.

The convention organiser should also provide a website publicising the convention. The AISB is happy to provide web space for this on their website, this should be arranged through the AISB webmaster. Alternatively organisers can set up a separate site in which case details (the URL) should be sent to the AISB webmaster. Examples of previous convention web pages can be viewed from the AISB web site (under Convention). The website should include links to any websites for the individual symposia, and should, at the appropriate moment, include titles and abstracts for the invited plenary talks (especially as there is no overall proceedings). It is our experience that information about travel and accomodation should go up as early as possible on this website, certainly by the time symposium bids are solicited since it may prove important for symposium organisers.

The AISB strongly recommends that symposia organisers contact the learned societies representing disciplines related to AI, such as Psychology and Philsophy and advertise the calls for symposia, papers etc. on relevant mailing lists or in newsletters associated with those societies. In return links to those societies could be placed on the convention web site.


Social Events

The program must include a substantial morning break, lunch break and afternoon break each (full) day, partly in order to facilitate discussion. Suitable light refreshments should be provided in the morning and afternoon breaks and should be covered by the registration fee. Lunch is sometimes covered by the registration fee but this need not be the case. Similarly lunch is sometimes provided as a separately catered event for convention guests only, sometimes provided by the host institution's existing cafeteria services and sometimes simply left as a free period in which guests may make whatever arrangements suit them.

It is unusual for there to be any sort of organised excursion but there is no reason in principle why one should not be included. Many symposia will organise their own meal at a local restaurant one evening but convention organisers may also wish to organise a convention meal for an additional fee.


Other Responsibilities

The convention organiser will be co-opted to the AISB committee for a period of two years - the year leading up to and the year immediately after the convention. There are three/four meetings of this committee each year. In their second year they are expected to liaise with the incoming convention organiser and help in answering any queries they may have.

The convention organiser is encouraged to contact the British Science Association (who organise the British Science Festival and Science Week) and similar organisations for material that might be placed in convention packs and the like. The AISB committee is keen to draw members attention to public understanding opportunities and these seems like a good mechanism.

The committee would be grateful if the convention organiser could submit any documents (calls for proposals, style files, etc.) to the webmaster for inclusion as samples on the AISB web site.

The convention organiser is responsible for reviewing this document at the end of their tenure and recommending any changes in the light of their experience. Such amendments should be communicated to the Society Secretary. They should also send the Secretary details of their registration costs and attendance figures (preferably broken down to show numbers of early/late, student/non-student and member/non-member registrations).


Past Convention Details


Registration Costs and Numbers
Past Convention Details
            AISB member             Non-member
            Student     Non-student Student     Non-student
            Early Late  Early Late  Early Late  Early Late
1 day       11    11     9    17     2           5     5
2 days      11     3     5     5     1     3     1     3
3 days             4    11     2
4 days      13     1     6     2     1
So, we had 61 students in the 132 that we know about. That's 46% which
one might extrapolate to imply that 86 of the overall 186 were students.
Summary stats which might be useful to future organisers are -
Convention Duration in days: 4
Number of Symposia: 12
Number of 1-day Symposia: 7
Number of 2-day Symposia: 5
Total Registrants: 186
Total Registrant Days: 393
Average number of days per registrant: 393/186 = 2.1
Average number of registrants per day: 393/4 = 98.25
Student Registrants: 61/132 = 46%
Early Registrants: 76/132 = 58%
New Members (joining during registration): 93/186 = 50%
The cost of registration in previous years at the convention is as
               Category 1 (member)   Category 2 (joining)  Category 3 (non-members)
               Student    Ordinary   Student    Ordinary   Student    Ordinary
               Early Late Early Late Early Late Early Late Early Late Early Late
2008 (1 day)   40    50   60    70   55    65   95    105  70    80   110   120 
2008 (2 days)  70    80   115   125  85    95   150   160  100   110  165   175
2008 (3 days)  105   120  170   190  120   135  205   225  135   150  220   240
2008 (4 days)  140   155  210   240  155   170  245   275  170   180  260   290
               AISB Member                AISB non-member
               Student      Non-Student   Student     Non-student
               Early  Late  Early  Late   Early Late  Early Late
2009 (1 day)   66     83    88     110    96    129   128   160
2009 (2 days)  125    157   167    209    182   228   243   304
2009 (3 days)  178    223   238    297    259   324   346   432
2009 (Full)    218    272   290    363    317   396   422   528
2005 (2 days)  115    135   170    205    135   155   210   245
2005 (Full)    140    160   195    230    160   180   235   270
2004 (1 day)   60     85    100    135    80    110   150   185
2004 (2 days)  80     100   135    170    100   124   185   220
2004 (Full)    130    145   185    220    150   170   235   270
2003 (1 day)   40     60    85     125    60    80    135   175
2003 (2 days)  60     70    120    155    80    90    165   195
2003 (Full)    70     80    135    175    90    100   195   225
2001                  60           100          75          120
2000           80     90    135    170    87    97    135   145


Previous attendance and registration numbers

2008      169  49 (speakers, helpers, press & travel award recipients - i.e., non-paying)

2003      147  49 (student)


Previous Symposia and their Organisers


The Reign of Catz and Dogz; The second AISB symposium on the role of virtual creatures in a computerised society - Shaun Lawson (Lincoln) and Thomas Chesney (Nottingham)

Affective Language in Human and Machine - Chris Mellish (Aberdeen)

Persuasive Technology - Judith Masthoff (Aberdeen), Chris Reed (Dundee) and Florian Grasso (Liverpool)

Behaviour Regulation in Multi-agent Systems - Nir Oren (King's, London)

Brain Computer Interfaces and Human Computer Interaction - Slawomir Nasuto and Faustina Hwang (Reading)

Agent Cognitive Ability and Orders of Emergence - Chris Goldspink and Nigel Gilbert (Surrey)

Style in text: creature generation and identification of authorship - Rodger Kibble and Sarah Rauchas (Goldsmiths)

Intelligence Agents and Services for Smart Environments - Flavio Soares Correa da Silva (Sao Paulo) and Stefania Bandini (Milano-Bicocca)

Logic and the Simulation of Interaction and Reasoning - Benedikt Lowe (Amsterdam)

Multimodal Output Generation (MOG 2008)

Swarm Intelligence Algorithms and Applications - Aladdin Ayesh (De Montfort)

Computing and Philosophy - Peter Baumann (Aberdeen), Mark Bishop (Goldsmiths), Luciano Floridi (Hertfordshire) and Steve Torrance (Middlesex)