Friday, April 28, 2006

HCI Forum 2006 w/ Ray Kurzweil

Here are a couple of pictures from the HCI Forum 2006. One is of Ray Kurzweil trying out my demo application of a curious robot exploring a physically simulated environment. (I'll post pictures of it on the Verve website soon.) The other is of me talking about current models of curiosity in intelligent agents.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Curiosity System Changes

I've been meaning to make several changes to Verve's curiosity reward system for a while. Right now it still uses a simple method that only applies to very simple situations: it gives the agent a reward in situations that yield high prediction errors. The new system will only apply rewards in situations that contain learnable information (i.e. those that are neither too predictable nor too unpredictable). This works by making curiosity rewards proportional to the learning progress (i.e. reduction in prediction errors) in a given situation over time. This new method is inspired by the artificial curiosity research of Schmidhuber and Oudeyer.

So now I need localized representation of estimated learning progress. I currently have a localized representation of uncertainty/confidence. I think the changes will be fairly simple: I just need to add a new linear neural network (the "learning progress estimator") which gets input from the RBF state-action representation and outputs a scalar localized estimation of learning progress (i.e. reduction in uncertainty). This neural network will be trained with the actual reduction in uncertainty (measured using the change in uncertainty estimation, which is computed by measuring the uncertainty estimation before and after training it).

Finally, instead of being proportional to the prediction uncertainty estimation, curiosity rewards will be proportional to the estimated learning progress.

Internship This Summer at IBM Research

This summer I'll be doing an internship at IBM's TJ Watson lab in Yorktown Heights, NY. I'll be working with Charles Peck and the Biometaphorical Computing group, which is currently heavily involved in the Blue Brain project (see here and here). At this point, I think the plan is for me to work on a computational model of the cerebellum.

I'm not sure yet how much I'll be able to work on Verve in my spare time this summer because I don't know if it's too closely related to my work at IBM. I'll post again later when I find out.