2020 VizWiz Grand Challenge Workshop

A panel of eight images paired with captions.  The first row contains four images with the following captions: "A computer screen with a Windows message about Microsoft license terms", "A photo taken from a residential street in front of some homes with a stormy sky above", and "A blue sky with fluffy clouds, taken from a car while driving on the highway".  The second row contains four images with the following captions: "A hand holds up a can of Coors Light in front of an outdoor scene with a dog on a porch", "A digital thermometer resting on a wooden table, showing 38.5 degrees Celsius", "A Winnie The Pooh character high chair with a can of Yoohoo sitting on it in front of a white wall", and "A cup holder in a car holding loose change from Canada".


Our goal for this workshop is to educate researchers about the technological needs of people with vision impairments while empowering researchers to improve algorithms to meet these needs. A key component of this event will be to track progress on a new dataset challenge, where the task is to caption images taken by people who are blind. Winners of this challenge will receive awards sponsored by Microsoft. The second key component of this event will be a discussion about current research and application issues, including by invited speakers from both academia and industry who will share about their experiences in building today’s state-­of-the-­art assistive technologies as well as designing next-generation tools.

Important Dates

  • February: challenge submissions announced
  • Friday, April 24 Friday, May 22 [5:59pm Central Standard Time]: extended abstracts due
  • Monday, May 4 Friday, May 29 [5:59pm Central Standard Time]: notification to authors about decisions for extended abstracts
  • Friday, May 15 Monday, June 1 [5:59pm Central Standard Time]: challenge submissions due
  • Sunday, June 14: all-day workshop


We invite two types of submissions:

Challenge Submissions

We invite submissions of results from algorithms for the image captioning challenge task. We accept submissions for algorithms that are not published, currently under review, and already published. The teams with the top-performing submissions will be invited to give short talks during the workshop. The top three teams will receive financial awards sponsored by Microsoft:

      • 1rst place: $10,000 Microsoft Azure credit
      • 2nd place: $10,000 Microsoft Azure credit
      • 3rd place: $10,000 Microsoft Azure credit

Extended Abstracts

  • We invite submissions of extended abstracts on topics related to image captioning and assistive technologies for people with visual impairments. Papers must be at most two pages (with references) and follow the CVPR formatting guidelines using the provided author kit. Reviewing will be single-blind and accepted papers will be presented as posters. We accept submissions on work that is not published, currently under review, and already published. There will be no proceedings. Please send your extended abstracts to workshop@vizwiz.org.



Room TBD. Travel directions to the venue are provided at this link.

Tentative Schedule:

  • 9:00-9:10am: Opening remarks
  • 9:10-9:30am: Invited speaker
  • 9:30-9:50am: Invited speaker
  • 9:50-10:10am: Invited speaker
  • 10:10-10:30am: Invited speaker
  • 10:30-11:00am: Break
  • 11:00-11:10am: Overview of challenge, winner announcements, and analysis of results
  • 11:10-11:25pm: Talks by challenge winners
  • 11:25-12:10pm: Poster session
  • 12:10-1:10pm: Lunch
  • 1:10-1:30pm: Invited speaker
  • 1:30-1:50pm: Invited speaker
  • 1:50-2:10pm: Invited speaker
  • 2:10-2:30pm: Invited speaker
  • 2:30-3:00pm: Break
  • 3:00-4:00pm: Panel with people who are blind about their captioning needs
  • 4:00-4:30pm: Panel with invited speakers
  • 4:30-4:45pm: Open discussion
  • 4:45-4:50pm: Closing remarks 

Invited Speakers:

Portrait picture of Sanja Fidler

Sanja Fidler
University of Toronto, NVIDIA

Portrait picture of Merrie Morris

Meredith Morris

Portrait picture of Chieko Asakawa

Chieko Asakawa (tentatively)
IBM, Carnegie Mellon University

Portrait picture of Shiri Azenkot

Shiri Azenkot (tentatively)
Cornell University

Portrait picture of Kate Saenko

Kate Saenko
Boston University, MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab

Sina Bahram
Prime Access Consulting

Chancey Fleet
New York Public Library, Data and Society Research Institute  

Venkatesh Potluri
University of Washington

Cynthia Bennett
Carnegie Mellon University, Apple

Poster List:



Portrait picture of Danna Gurari

Danna Gurari
University of Texas at Austin

Potrait picture of Jeffrey Bigham

Jeffrey Bigham
Carnegie Mellon University, Apple

Portrait picture of Merrie Morris

Meredith Morris

Portrait picture of Ed Cutrell

Ed Cutrell

Portrait picture of Abigale Stangl

Abigale Stangl
University of Texas at Austin

Portrait picture of Yinan Zhao

Yinan Zhao
University of Texas at Austin

Contact Us

For questions, comments, or feedback, please send them to Danna Gurari at danna.gurari@ischool.utexas.edu.


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