The Central Role of Heuristic Search in Cognitive Computation Systems

Minds and Machines 26 (1-2):103-123 (2016)
  Copy   BIBTEX


This paper focuses on the relation of heuristic search and level of intelligence in cognitive computation systems. The paper begins with a review of the fundamental properties of a cognitive computation system, which is defined generally as a control system that generates goal-directed actions in response to environmental inputs and constraints. An important property of cognitive computations is the need to process local cues in symbol structures to access and integrate distal knowledge to generate a response. To deal with uncertainties involved in this local-to-distal processing, the system needs to perform heuristic search to locate and integrate the right set of distal structures. The level of intelligence of the system depends critically on the efficiency of the heuristic search process. It is argued that, for a bounded rationality system, the level of intelligence does not depend on how much search it needs to do to accomplish a task. Rather, the level of intelligence depends on how much search it does not need to do to achieve the same level of performance. Examples were discussed to illustrate this idea. The first two examples show how machines that play games like tic-tac-toe and chess rely heavily on the efficiency of the heuristic search algorithm to achieve better performance, demonstrating the relation of heuristic search and intelligence in a bounded rationality system. The second example shows how humans adapt to different information ecologies to perform information search on the Internet and how their performance improves over time, demonstrating how heuristic search can be improved in an adaptive rationality system. The two examples demonstrate how better search control knowledge and representations of task environment can improve the efficiency of heuristic search, thereby improving the intelligence of the system.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 94,549

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles


Added to PP

29 (#549,218)

6 months
2 (#1,487,590)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Unified theories of cognition.Allen Newell - 1990 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Simple Heuristics That Make Us Smart.Gerd Gigerenzer, Peter M. Todd & A. B. C. Research Group - 1999 - New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press USA. Edited by Peter M. Todd.
Rational choice and the structure of the environment.Herbert A. Simon - 1956 - Psychological Review 63 (2):129-138.

View all 7 references / Add more references