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A Computational Model of Robotic Surprise

  • The research of autonomous artificial agents that adapt to and survive in changing, possibly hostile environments, has gained momentum in recent years. Many of such agents incorporate mechanisms to learn and acquire new knowledge from its environment, a feature that becomes fundamental to enable the desired adaptation, and account for the challenges that the environment poses. The issue of how to trigger such learning, however, has not been as thoroughly studied as its significance suggest. The solution explored is based on the use of surprise (the reaction to unexpected events), as the mechanism that triggers learning. This thesis introduces a computational model of surprise that enables the robotic learner to experience surprise and start the acquisition of knowledge to explain it. A measure of surprise that combines elements from information and probability theory, is presented. Such measure offers a response to surprising situations faced by the robot, that is proportional to the degree of unexpectedness of such event. The concepts of short- and long-term memory are investigated as factors that influence the resulting surprise. Short-term memory enables the robot to habituate to new, repeated surprises, and to “forget” about old ones, allowing them to become surprising again. Long-term memory contains knowledge that is known a priori or that has been previously learned by the robot. Such knowledge influences the surprise mechanism, by applying a subsumption principle: if the available knowledge is able to explain the surprising event, suppress any trigger of surprise. The computational model of robotic surprise has been successfully applied to the domain of a robotic learner, specifically one that learns by experimentation. A brief introduction to the context of such application is provided, as well as a discussion on related issues like the relationship of the surprise mechanism with other components of the robot conceptual architecture, the challenges presented by the specific learning paradigm used, and other components of the motivational structure of the agent.

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Document Type:Master's Thesis
Author:Alex Juarez
Pagenumber:x, 89
Publishing Institution:Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg
Granting Institution:Fachhochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg, Fachbereich Informatik
Date of first publication:2008/01/31
Series (Volume):Technical Report / Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences. Department of Computer Science (01-2008)
GND Keyword:Robotik
Departments, institutes and facilities:Fachbereich Informatik
Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC):0 Informatik, Informationswissenschaft, allgemeine Werke / 00 Informatik, Wissen, Systeme / 004 Datenverarbeitung; Informatik
Entry in this database:2010/03/10
Licence (Multiple languages):License LogoIn Copyright (Urheberrechtsschutz)