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Algorithm selection by rational metareasoning as a model of human strategy selection

Neural Information Processing Systems

Selecting the right algorithm is an important problem in computer science, because the algorithm often has to exploit the structure of the input to be efficient. The human mind faces the same challenge. Therefore, solutions to the algorithm selection problem can inspire models of human strategy selection and vice versa. Here, we view the algorithm selection problem as a special case of metareasoning and derive a solution that outperforms existing methods in sorting algorithm selection. We apply our theory to model how people choose between cognitive strategies and test its prediction in a behavioral experiment. We find that people quickly learn to adaptively choose between cognitive strategies. People's choices in our experiment are consistent with our model but inconsistent with previous theories of human strategy selection. Rational metareasoning appears to be a promising framework for reverse-engineering how people choose among cognitive strategies and translating the results into better solutions to the algorithm selection problem.


When Does Bounded-Optimal Metareasoning Favor Few Cognitive Systems?

AAAI Conferences

While optimal metareasoning is notoriously intractable, humans are nonetheless able to adaptively allocate their computational resources. A possible approximation that humans may use to do this is to only metareason over a finite set of cognitive systems that perform variable amounts of computation. The highly influential "dual-process" accounts of human cognition, which postulate the coexistence of a slow accurate system with a fast error-prone system, can be seen as a special case of this approximation. This raises two questions: how many cognitive systems should a bounded optimal agent be equipped with and what characteristics should those systems have? We investigate these questions in two settings: a one-shot decision between two alternatives, and planning under uncertainty in a Markov decision process. We find that the optimal number of systems depends on the variability of the environment and the costliness of metareasoning. Consistent with dual-process theories, we also find that when having two systems is optimal, then the first system is fast but error-prone and the second system is slow but accurate.


Automated Machine Learning, Bounded Rationality, and Rational Metareasoning

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

The notion of bounded rationality originated from the insight that perfectly rational behavior cannot be realized by agents with limited cognitive or computational resources. Research on bounded rationality, mainly initiated by Herbert Simon, has a longstanding tradition in economics and the social sciences, but also plays a major role in modern AI and intelligent agent design. Taking actions under bounded resources requires an agent to reflect on how to use these resources in an optimal way - hence, to reason and make decisions on a meta-level. In this paper, we will look at automated machine learning (AutoML) and related problems from the perspective of bounded rationality, essentially viewing an AutoML tool as an agent that has to train a model on a given set of data, and the search for a good way of doing so (a suitable "ML pipeline") as deliberation on a meta-level.


Learning to select computations

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

The efficient use of limited computational resources is an essential ingredient of intelligence. Selecting computations optimally according to rational metareasoning would achieve this, but this is computationally intractable. Inspired by psychology and neuroscience, we propose the first concrete and domain-general learning algorithm for approximating the optimal selection of computations: Bayesian metalevel policy search (BMPS). We derive this general, sample-efficient search algorithm for a computation-selecting metalevel policy based on the insight that the value of information lies between the myopic value of information and the value of perfect information. We evaluate BMPS on three increasingly difficult metareasoning problems: when to terminate computation, how to allocate computation between competing options, and planning. Across all three domains, BMPS achieved near-optimal performance and compared favorably to previously proposed metareasoning heuristics. Finally, we demonstrate the practical utility of BMPS in an emergency management scenario, even accounting for the overhead of metareasoning.


Can Artificial Intelligence Learn to Learn?

#artificialintelligence

As businesses integrate Artificial Intelligence into their systems, technology professionals are looking at a new frontier of AI innovation. This is in the area of Meta-Learning. Meta-Learning is simply learning to learn. We humans have the unique ability to learn from any situation or surrounding. We can figure out how we can learn.