On behalf of ALTER and Superlinear, I am pleased to announce a prize of at least[1] 50,000 USD, to be awarded for the best substantial contribution to the learning-theoretic AI alignment research agenda among those submitted before October 1, 2023. Depending on the quality of submissions, the winner(s) may be offered a position as a researcher in ALTER (similar to this one), to continue work on the agenda, if they so desire.

Submit here.

Topics

The research topics eligible for the prize are:

New topics might be added to this list over the year.

Requirements

The format of the submission can be either a LessWrong post/sequence or an arXiv paper.

The submission is allowed to have one or more authors. In the latter case, the authors will be considered for the prize as a team, and if they win, the prize money will be split between them either equally or according to their own internal agreement. For the submission to be eligible, its authors must not include:

  • Anyone employed or supported by ALTER.
  • Members of the board of directors of ALTER.
  • Members of the panel of the judges.
  • First-degree relatives or romantic partners of judges.

In order to win, the submission must be a substantial contribution to the mathematical theory of one of the topics above. For this, it must include at least one of:

  • A novel theorem, relevant to the topic, which is difficult to prove.
  • A novel unexpected mathematical definition, relevant to the topic, with an array of natural properties.

Some examples of known results which would be considered substantial at the time:

Evaluation

The evaluation will consist of two phases. In the first phase, I will select 3 finalists. In the second phase, each of the finalists will be evaluated by a panel of judges comprising of:

Each judge will score the submission on a scale of 0 to 4. These scores will be added to produce a total score between 0 and 16. If no submission achieves a score of 12 or more, the main prize will not be awarded. If at least one submission achieves a score of 12 or more, the submission with the highest score will be the winner. In case of a tie, the money will be split between the front runners.

The final winner will be announced publicly, but the scores received by various submissions will not.

Fast Track

If the prize is awarded, and at least one author of the winning submission is interested in a researcher position in ALTER, they will be considered for it, although this is not an offer or guarantee of employment. In fact, making such hires to continue to advance the agenda is my foremost reason for organizing this prize.

If multiple winning authors are interested in researcher positions, we will consider hiring at least one of them. It is also quite likely we will consider hiring all of them, but this depends on our financial and organization ability to support that number.

For additional details about the position, see our previous hiring announcement.

Assistance

We do not promise to provide any guidance or mentorship to contestants. In fact, identifying researchers that can work with minimal guidance is one of the advantages of this process. However, I expect to be usually available for providing comments on well-written research proposals. Contestants are encouraged to write such proposals in case of any doubt about the eligibility of their research. Moreover, technical questions pertaining to the learning-theoretic agenda can be asked either on the MIRIx Discord server (where either Alex or I often answer them), or as comments on the relevant posts by Diffractor (Alex) or myself. Invites to the server are available to good-faith contestants upon request.

If you wish to contact me about either a research proposal or an invite, please write to rot13 of inarffn@nygre.bet.vy and attach a CV plus any other relevant background about yourself.

Please indicate your interest in working on this prize on Superlinear or comment to find potential collaborators.

Good luck!

  1. ^

    Donors can increase the prize pool using the Superlinear platform.

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50,000 USD, to be awarded for the best substantial contribution to the learning-theoretic AI alignment research agenda among those submitted before October 1, 2023

I like how you posted this so far in advance of the deadline (over 1 year).

Some contests and prizes that have been posted here in the past have a pretty tight turnaround. By the time I learned about them and became interested in participating (not necessarily the first time I heard about it), their deadlines had already passed.

This sounds very cool! To clarify, would contributions that are submitted to and/or accepted for publication elsewhere (ie in academic venues) be considered for this prize?

Yes, absolutely! The contest is not a publication venue.