Solving the Ghigliottina with AI @EVALITA2020


How to participate

Important Dates


Task Description

Language games draw their challenge and excitement from the richness and ambiguity of natural language, and therefore have attracted the attention of researchers in the fields of Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing. For instance, IBM WatsonTM is a system which successfully challenged human champions of Jeopardy!TM, a game in which contestants are presented with clues in the form of answers, and must phrase their responses in the form of a question [1]. Other researchers exploited question answering techniques to build an artificial player for “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” [2]. Another popular language game is solving crossword puzzles. The first experience reported in the literature is Proverb [3], that exploits large libraries of clues and solutions to past crossword puzzles. WebCrow is the first solver for Italian crosswords [4].

Following the first edition of the NLP4FUN task [5], proposed at EVALITA 2018, we propose a new edition of the task which aim is to design a solver for “The Guillotine” (La Ghigliottina, in Italian) game. It is inspired by the final game of an Italian TV show called “L’eredità”. The game, broadcast by Italian national TV, involves a single player, who is given a set of five words - the clues - each linked in some way to a specific word that represents the unique solution of the game. Words are unrelated to each other, but each of them has a hidden association with the solution. Once the clues are given, the player has one minute to find the solution. For example, given the five clues: pie, bad, Adam, core, eye the solution is apple, because: apple-pie is a kind of pie; bad apple is a way to refer to a trouble maker; Adam’s apple is the prominent part of men’s throat; apple core is the center of the apple; apple of someone’s eye is way to refer to someone’s beloved person.

Participants are asked to build an artificial player able to solve “La Ghigliottina”. They can take advantage of solutions adopted by previous systems [6, 7, 8] and the availability of open repositories on the web (see our list of useful resources).

Development Data

We provide a set of 300 games with their solution taken from the last editions of the TV game as training data. The training data will be released in JSON format:

      "w1": "posto",
      "w2": "artificiale",
      "w3": "lavaggio",
      "w4": "allenare",
      "w5": "gallina",
      "solution": "cervello"
      "w1": "essere",
      "w2": "comparsa",
      "w3": "x men",
      "w4": "ronaldo",
      "w5": "mondiale",
      "solution": "fenomeno"

The JSON file consists of an array of games which contains several JSON objects for each game. In each game we have 5 clues (w1, w2, …, w5) and the solution.

Please refer to the API Setup section below to register your system and download the development data.

System Evaluation

In order to evaluate the AI systems, we rely on an API based methodology. For this we use the Remote Evaluation Server (RES) Ghigliottiniamo which currently enables both humans and artificial systems to submit solutions to the TV game in real-time.

During the evaluation period, at random intervals of time, the RES will submit to the registered systems a request with a single game challenge. The systems must reply back to the RES with a single solution to the game.

Please refer to the API Setup section below to understand how to register your system to the RES, and how to test it to ensure that the system is setup correctly.

Evaluation Metric

As evaluation measure, we adopt the standard accuracy score:

Similar to the TV game, where players have one minute to provide the solution, the RES will discard system solutions received after 60 seconds from the submitted challenge.

List of useful Resources

This is a challenging language game which demands knowledge covering a broad range of topics, to understand the clues and identify their connections with potential solution words. We list here a number of suggestions to help potential participants to the challenge.

Previous systems [6, 7, 8] have indicated some of the possible connection between clue words and solutions: word co-occurrencence in frequent collocations or idioms, word similarity or word relatedness.

We list a number of useful resources on the web:


[1] D. Ferrucci, E. Brown, J. Chu-Carroll, J. Fan, D. Gondek, A. A. Kalyanpur, A. Lally, J. W. Murdock, E. Nyberg, J. Prager, N. Schlaefer, and C.Welty, “Building Watson: An overview of the DeepQA project,” AI Magazine, vol. 31, no. 3, pp. 59–79, 2010.

[2] P. Molino, P. Lops, G. Semeraro, M. de Gemmis, and P. Basile. Playing with knowledge: A virtual player for who wants to be a millionaire? that leverages question answering techniques. Artificial Intelligence, vol. 222, pp. 157-181, 2015.

[3] M. L. Littman, G. A. Keim, and N. Shazeer, “A probabilistic approach to solving crossword puzzles,” Artificial Intelligence, vol. 134, pp. 23–55, 2002.

[4] M. Ernandes, G. Angelini, and M. Gori, “A web-based agent challenges human experts on crosswords,” AI Magazine, vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 77–90, 2008.

[5] P. Basile, M. de Gemmis, P. Lops, and G. Semeraro, Solving a complex language game by using knowledge-based word associations discovery. IEEE Transactions on Computational Intelligence and AI in Games, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 13-26, 2016.

[6] P. Basile, M. de Gemmis, P. Lops, and G. Semeraro, “Solving a complex language game by using knowledge-based word associations discovery”, IEEE Transactions on Computational Intelligence and AI in Games, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 13-26, 2016.

[7] G. Semeraro, P. Lops, P. Basile, and M. De Gemmis. On the tip of mythought: Playing the guillotine game. InProceedings of the 21st Interna-tional Jont Conference on Artifical Intelligence, IJCAI’09, pages 1543–1548,San Francisco, CA, USA, 2009. Morgan Kaufmann Publishers Inc. URL

[8] F. Sangati, A. Pascucci, and J. Monti. Exploiting multiword expressions tosolve “la ghigliottina”. InSixth Evaluation Campaign of Natural LanguageProcessing and Speech Tools for Italian. Final Workshop (EVALITA 2018),pages 1–6, 2018. URL

System Registration

This challenge uses an API based infrastructure to connect to the Remote Evaluation Server (RES) Ghigliottiniamo.

In order to register a new system please go to the following URL:

and enter your e-mail address, your AI System Name (choose wisely), and the Webhook URL where the RES system can send you the requests. The Webhook URL can be changed later, so if you just want to get started you can use a placeholder (e.g.,

After clicking the submit button, you will be redirected to your Account Webpage with the following information:

UUID: xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx
Secret: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Authorization: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Webhook URL	<the_chosen_webhook>

Test webhook link
Edit webhook
Download dataset link

This info will be also sent to the email you specified.


At any point you will be able to access your Account Webpage at the following URL:<UUID>&secret=<secret>&authorization=<authorization>

by replacing the UUID, secret and authorization keys accordingly.

Download Development Data

In order to download the Development Data click on the Download dataset link in your Account Webpage.

Change your webhook

At any moment you can change your webhook by clicking on Edit webhook in your Account Webpage.

Setup and API testing

The webhook URL you specified should accept POST requests and return a 200 status code as a success confirmation.

In order to make sure your system API infrastructure is properly setup for the evaluation phase, we have implemented a test functionality. From your Account Webpage click on the Test webhook link. The webpage will show you a popup message with a confirmation of whether it was able to invoke your webhook URL. If so, you should have received a POST request to the webhook you specified with following payload:

  "game_id": 111, 
  "w2": "string2", 
  "w3": "string3", 
  "w4": "string4", 
  "w5": "string5", 
  "callback": "<callback_url>"}

The w1,…,w5 in the payload is a random game from the Development Data.

You can verify that the POST request was sent by the official RES by checking if the Authorization field in the header of the request matches the authorization string you received after registering the system.

At this point you should send a POST request to the callback URL with the secret key in the Authorization field of the header and the following payload (as form data):

  "game_id": 111, 
  "uuid": "<UUID>", 
  "solution":"your solution"

Where solution contains a single solution to the game.

This is a list with some implementation of the POST request in various programming languages:


curl --location --request POST '<callback_url>' \
--header 'Authorization: <secret>' \
--form 'game_id=<game_id>' \
--form 'solution=<solution>' \
--form 'uuid=<UUID>'

Java - Unirest

Unirest.setTimeouts(0, 0);
HttpResponse<String> response ="<callback_url>")
  .header("Authorization", "<secret>")
  .multiPartContent()  .field("game_id", "<game_id>")
  .field("solution", "<solution>")
  .field("uuid", "<UUID>")

Python - requests

   'POST', '<callback_url>', 
   headers={'Authorization': '<secret>'}, 
   data = {'game_id': '<game_id>', 'solution': '<solution>', 'uuid': '<UUID>'}, 

Useful tips

We advise participants to deploy their system on a server (a number of free cloud-based are available such as heroku. For testing purposes, participants can make use of tunnelling software (such as localtunnel that enables a system to run and communicate with the Remote Evaluation Server from a local machine.

We are aware the API technologies (while being ubiquitous in all IT sectors) are still uncommon in shared tasks, but we decided to adopt them because they offer a unique opportunity to evaluate the systems more robustly and continuously in time. We do not want this to be an obstacle for people to participate to the challenge, and therefore we will provide all assistance needed for participants to set up their systems correctly.



If you have any questions, please contact us: or join our Google Group here.