“Beauty” as a Search Heuristic?

Through my colleague, Prof. Andrew Ranicki, I came upon this interesting interview with another distinguished colleague, Sir Michael Atiyah: https://www.quantamagazine.org/20160303-michael-atiyahs-mathematical-dreams/. The interview contains interesting reflection upon many things including the notion of beauty in mathematics. Indeed, Atiyah has co-authored a paper based on a very interesting neuroscience study on neural correlates of beauty: http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fnhum.2014.00068. The key […]

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Action Priors and Place Cells

My former student, Benji Rosman, and I worked on an idea that we called action priors – a way for an agent to learn a task-independent domain model of what actions are worth considering when learning a policy for a new sequential decision making task instance. This is described in a paper that has recently been […]

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Interesting observation about primate learning

If you try to impose a rigid discipline while teaching a child or a chimp, you are working against the boundless curiosity and need for relaxed play that make learning possible in the first place… learning cannot be controlled; it is out of control by design. Learning emerges spontaneously, it proceeds in an individualistic and […]

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Interaction as a key determinant of learning

I have just enjoyed reading a review article in Science entitled Foundations for a New Science of Learning. It does a very nice job of synthesizing a variety of different threads ranging from machine learning to psychology and neuroscience. The central thread is the importance of interactions or, more specifically, the notion of social learning. […]

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Why babies can’t not pay attention

In a previous post, I argued in favor of splitting robot learning into task-independent and task-dependent portions. The general version of this statement is certainly not a new idea. Indeed, my own thoughts on this topic are shaped by years of discussions with my advisor and there is a whole community of people, including some […]

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