CSC News

October 29, 2013

Roberts Receives NSF Award to Investigate Speeding Up Learning Through Modeling

Dr. David Roberts, assistant professor of computer science at NC State University, has been awarded $156,203 by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support his research proposal entitled “Speeding Up Learning through Modeling the Pragmatics of Training.”
The award will run from October 1, 2013 to September 30, 2015. 
Abstract – We propose to develop techniques that will enable humans to train computers efficiently and intuitively. In this proposed work, we draw inspiration from the ways that human trainers teach dogs complex behaviors to develop novel machine learning paradigms that will enable intelligent agents to learn from human trainers quickly, and in a way that humans can intuitively take advantage of. This research aims to return to the basics of programming---it seeks to develop novel methods that allow humans to tell computers what to do. More specifically, this research will develop learning techniques that explicitly model and leverage the implicit communication channel that humans use while training, a process akin to interpreting the pragmatic implicature of a natural language communication. We will develop algorithms that view the training process as an intentional communicative act, and can vastly outperform standard reward-seeking algorithms in terms of the speed and accuracy with which human trainers can generate desired behavior.

For more information on Dr. Roberts, click here. 

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