Trading spaces: Computation, representation, and the limits of uninformed learning

Behavioral and Brain Sciences 20 (1):57-66 (1997)
Abstract
Some regularities enjoy only an attenuated existence in a body of training data. These are regularities whose statistical visibility depends on some systematic recoding of the data. The space of possible recodings is, however, infinitely large type-2 problems. they are standardly solved! This presents a puzzle. How, given the statistical intractability of these type-2 cases, does nature turn the trick? One answer, which we do not pursue, is to suppose that evolution gifts us with exactly the right set of recoding biases so as to reduce specific type-2 problems to (tractable) type-1 mappings. Such a heavy-duty nativism is no doubt sometimes plausible. But we believe there are other, more general mechanisms also at work. Such mechanisms provide general (not task-specific) strategies for managing problems of type-2 complexity. Several such mechanisms are investigated. At the heart of each is a fundamental ploy representational redescription language and culture – may themselves be viewed as adaptations enabling this representation/computation trade-off to be pursued on an even grander scale
Keywords connectionism   learning   representation   search   statistics
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