Bo Morgan Thesis Defense

Tuesday — Wednesday
August 16, 2011 —
August 17, 2011


MIT Media Lab, E14-633


A system built on a layered reflective cognitive architecture presents many novel and difficult software engineering problems. Some of these problems can be ameliorated by erecting the system on a substrate that implicitly supports tracing of results and behavior of the system to the data and through the procedures that produced those results and that behavior. Good traces make the system accountable; it enables the analysis of success and failure, and thus enhances the ability to learn from mistakes.

Morgan has constructed just such a substrate. It provides for general parallelism and concurrency, while supporting the automatic collection of audit trails for all processes, including the processes that analyze audit trails. Morgan's system natively supports a Lisp-like language. In such a language, as in machine language, a program is data that can be easily manipulated by a program. This makes it easier for a user or an automatic procedure to read, edit, and write programs as they are debugged.

Here, Morgan builds and demonstrates an example of reflective problem solving in a block building toy problem domain. He then applies his approach to a simulation of life in a rigidbody physical environment in order to show scalability to non-trivial problem domains. In his demonstration, multiple agents can learn from experience of success or failure or by being explicitly taught by other agents, including the user. In his demonstration he shows how procedurally traced memory can be used to assign credit to those deliberative processes that are responsible for the failure, facilitating learning how to better plan for these types of problems in the future.

Additional Featured Research By

Responsive Environments (Unpublished) Society of Mind

Host/Chair: Joseph A. Paradiso


Marvin Minsky, Gerald J. Sussman, Michael T. Cox

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