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Tim Genewein

Information-optimal hierarchies for inference and decision-making

London, UK

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Genewein T (2013) Abstraction in Decision-Makers with Limited Information Processing Capabilities, NIPS 2013 workshop on Planning with Information Constraints

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I presented my work on Abstraction in decision-makers with limited information processing capabilities at the NIPS 2013 workshop on Planning with Information Constraints.

The main idea of the talk is that abstractions are induced because of having limited information processing capabilities. This intuition is backed up by a rate distortion framework for decision-making that is based on a thermodynamic framework for decision-making. In the talk I show that a simple extension of the thermodynamic framework leads to an optimization problem for optimal decision-making under limited computational resources that is mathematically equal to the rate-distortion problem (see Research for more information on the thermodynamic framework and its connection to rate distortion theory).
The application of rate distortion to decision-making can lead to the emergence of natural levels of abstraction that are dependent on the computational capabilities of the decision-maker. I illustrated this with a toy-example in the talk - see the slides of the talk or the abstract of the talk.

The talk is accompanied by a paper - see here.