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2010 Linden Prize Entry - I-Room: A Virtual Space for Intelligent Interaction

Intelligent - Interactive - Integrated - Instrumented - Intelligible

This page provides supporting material for the I-Room entry for the 2010 Linden Prize [FAQ][Blog entry][E-mail for references/testimonials].

New - Watch a 6 minute YouTube video - I-Room Introduction and Tour


2010 Linden Prize Entry

Name: Austin Tate (avatar: Ai Austin) with AIAI I-X team., and Virtual University of Edinburgh 

E-mail: and

Title: I-Room: a virtual space for intelligent interaction

Summary: An I-Room provides a virtual space for collaborations such as team meetings, immersive training and event management. It is designed to be rapidly deployable, and to provide a robust and persistent alternative to physical operations rooms for geographically dispersed teams. An I-Room supports various communications mechanisms, and can connect with web-based intelligent planning and task-support systems to actively support meetings and coordinate activity. A 'helper' object placed in the I-Room mediates with the capabilities provided by this architecture, allowing, for example, topic relevant knowledge bases and natural language generation capabilities to support specific tasks within the space.

As well as its main use for emergency response or the management of large-scale public events, I-Rooms have also been applied to multi-media product development by an international games development team and to promote the "virtual world of whisky" by providing mixed-reality tutored scotch whisky tasting events. A demonstration I-Room shows examples of shared information access via the web (video feeds, weather screens, Twitter feed on nominated search tags), and intelligent systems for meeting support.

I-Rooms are a contribution towards fulfilling the vision of "The Helpful Environment".

Biography: Prof Austin Tate holds the Chair in Knowledge-Based Systems at the University of Edinburgh and is the Director of the Artificial Intelligence Applications Institute at the University. He helped form AIAI in 1984 and since that time has led its efforts to transfer the technologies and methods of artificial intelligence and knowledge systems into commercial, governmental and academic applications throughout the world. He holds degrees in Computer Studies (B.A. Lancaster, 1972) and Machine Intelligence (Ph.D. Edinburgh, 1975). He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (Scotland's National Academy), and is a Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence amongst other honours. He is a professionally Chartered Engineer.

Prof. Tate's research interests are in the use of rich process and plan representations along with tools that can utilize these representations to support planning and activity management. He pioneered the early, now widely used and deployed, approaches to hierarchical planning and constraint satisfaction in the Interplan, Nonlin, O-Plan and I-Plan planning systems. His recent work on "I-X" is concerned with supporting collaboration between human and system agents to perform cooperative tasks in a "Helpful Environment".

Prof. Tate was the Edinburgh PI in the Advanced Knowledge Technologies Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration in the UK. He also led the US DARPA funded Coalition Agent eXperiment (CoAX) project involving some 30 organizations in 4 countries over a 3 year period. His work is being applied to search and rescue and emergency response tasks. His internationally sponsored research work is focused on the use of advanced knowledge and planning technologies, and collaborative systems especially using virtual worlds. Along with his avatar, Ai Austin, he leads the Virtual University of Edinburgh, Vue, a virtual educational and research institute bringing together those interested in the use of virtual worlds for teaching, research and outreach. Prof. Tate is on the Senior Advisory Board for IEEE Intelligent Systems journal and is a member of the editorial board of a number of other journals.

Visit an I-Room now in Second Life [if you do not yet have a Second Life avatar Join here]:

VW Platform Location URL Launcher
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OpenVCE I-Zone


Watch a short video introducing the collaborative systems research being undertaken using I-Rooms in Virtual Worlds:

Watch two videos of I-Rooms in use in practical applications:

Papers describing I-Rooms and their applications:

  • Tate, A., Potter, S. and Dalton, J. (2009), I-Room: a Virtual Space for Emergency Response for the Multinational Planning Augmentation Team, Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Knowledge Systems for Coalition Operations (KSCO-2009) (Lawton, J., Patel, J. and Tate. A. eds.), Chilworth Manor, Southampton, UK, 31 March-1 April 2009. [PDF Document]
  • Tate, A., Chen-Burger, Y-H., Dalton, J., Potter, S., Richardson, D., Stader, J., Wickler, G., Bankier, I., Walton, C. and William, P.G. (2010) I-Room: A Virtual Space for Intelligent Interaction, IEEE Intelligent Systems, to appear. [PDF Document]
  • Hansberger, J., Tate, A., Moon, B. and Cross, R. (2010), Cognitively Engineering a Virtual Collaboration Environment for Crisis Response, Proceedings of the 2010 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Working. (CSCW 2010), Savannah, Georgia, USA, 6-10 February 2010. [PDF Document] [JPG Poster]

Caption: I-Room in use within the Open Virtual Collaboration Environment (


Caption: I-Rooms in use for Multi-media product creation and for the Virtual World of Whisky.


Caption: Link-ups between real meeting spaces and the unified interaction space of the I-Room.


Caption: Various sized I-Rooms are available with a core plus four corner modules design.


More Details of I-Rooms

I-Rooms are available in Second Life and Opensim. An I-Room provides a two-storey building with a central area and four work zones, designed for collaborative and brain-storming style meetings. An I-Room can be used as a rapidly deployed operations centre for example. Plenty of wall space is available for displays and gadgets. The I-Room can be linked to intelligent planning and task-support systems via an "I-Room Helper" agent. <I-N-C-A> (Issues - Nodes - Constraints - Annotations), a powerful - and human intelligible - conceptual model for knowledge sharing in a cooperative task-orientated environment, and QOC (Questions - Options  - Criteria) issues addressing approach, underpin the use of intelligent systems in an I-Room. The I-Room style buildings are used in the I-X/I-Room research on intelligent collaborative and task support environments at AIAI, The University of Edinburgh.

Potential Applications:

  • Virtual collaboration centre
  • Business teleconferencing
  • Team meetings for projects, products or reviews
  • Product help desks
  • Design-to-product - product lifecycle workflow support
  • Environmental, building and plant monitoring centre
  • Health and safety at work, disability awareness
  • Intelligent tutors, guides and greeters
  • Educational and tutoring rooms
  • Active demonstration pavilions

An example I-Room in use for the "Whole of Society Crises Response" (WoSCR) Community is available for demonstration, to show the public what is being created, and to elicit feedback.

The I-Room 3D models, scripts and web applications are all released in open source form to encourage their use by others. The modular and adaptable I-Room 3D building model and all technical facilities within the virtual worlds and on supporting web sites are available as open source assets and software. Demonstrations for new applications can be created using the facilities and the Vue and VCE regions in Second Life.

I-Room technical web site:

Underlying artificial intelligence planning and task support technology:

I-Room Demonstration Notes

The demonstration shows visitors what can be done through an I-Room even though the demonstration area is set up specifically for the experimental use of the WoSCR community: an I-Robot greeter offers new visitors a web link back to a descriptive web page and offers and explanatory in-world notecard. Having an active I-Room may better demonstrate what one would look like when populated with status and information feed displays.

The I-X helper agent running within the "Polycom Phone" object in the I-Room can support meetings, with agenda and minuting capabilities. The helper can also control objects in the virtual world by being given a capability and communication description, which it can then use to communicate, control and respond to the object through chat channels. The current I-Room helper commands available are listed at:

Linden Prize Relevance

The I-Room demonstrates how web and virtual worlds technology can be linked to support teams working together to protect life and for the benefit of mankind, and has potential in a wide range of collaborative and social applications.

Prize funds would be used to facilitate international mixed-reality events to promote the vision of "The Helpful Environment" and the role of virtual space and intelligent interactive I-Rooms in this.

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