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Subramanian Ramamoorthy: In search of structure

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When Sep 11, 2012
from 01:00 PM to 02:00 PM
Where MF 1 on Level 2
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The common thread that holds all of Informatics together is the notion of 'structure' - a loaded word which means different things to different people. Mathematically inclined theorists look for delicate forms of it in computational processes, programmers revel in the ability to conjure up exotic forms of it using their favourite models of computation, and so on.

 

My interest, as a robotics and autonomous systems researcher,`is in understanding what is it about the environment and the space of tasks that allows bounded and limited computational processes to somehow get by in the face of vastly more complex unknowns.

 

I will explore the issue in two parts. Firstly, I will explain the formulation of decision problems that crop up in my work and discuss an interesting observation due to Bookstaber and Langsam - drawing on a paper written by these two economists in a theoretical biology journal that has something important to say about the kind of computational problems we are interested in. In the second part, I will draw parallels between this and our own work involving techniques for transfer learning and policy reuse. This will allow me to conclude with some open questions for the audience to consider.

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