Frans Coenen University of Liverpool, UK This volume comprises the refereed technical papers presented at AI2003, the Twenty third SGAI International Conference on the theory, practice and application of Artificial Intelligence, held in Cambridge in December 2003. The conference was organised by SGAI, the British Computer Society Specialist Group on Artificial Intelligence (previously known as SGES). The papers in this volume present new and innovative developments in the field, divided into sections on Machine Learning, Knowledge Representation and Reasoning, Knowledge Acquisition, Constraint Satisfaction, Scheduling and Natural Language Processing. This year's prize for the best refereed technical paper was won by a paper entitled An Improved Hybrid Genetic Algorithm: New Results for the Quadratic Assignment Problem by A. Misevicius (Department of Practical Informatics, Kaunas University of Technology, Lithuania). SGAI gratefully acknowledges the long-term sponsorship of Hewlett-Packard Laboratories (Bristol) for this prize, which goes back to the 1980s. This is the twentieth volume in the Research and Development series. The Application Stream papers are published as a companion volume under the title Applications and Innovations in Intelligent Systems XI. On behalf of the conference organising committee I should like to thank all those who contributed to the organisation of this year's technical programme, in particular the programme committee members, the referees and our administrator Fiona Hartree and Linsay Turbert.