Tom Anthony

Research Area: Perception-action loop of agents, and using information theoretic tools to drive intelligent behaviour



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Structure of space and Empowerment for long-term horizons


“Empowerment”, the informational capacity of an agent to modify its environment, has been shown in the last years to be an effective driver for intrinsic behaviour of agents “embodied” in a world, whether simulated or real. Its properties and the reasons for its success are increasingly well understood.
However, this comes at a price: the effort for accurately computing empowerment k steps into the future grows exponentially with the action horizon k. Thus, only short horizons could be utilized. Though empowerment is to some extent “prescient” in that, even in its local form, it identifies directions of interest to an agent, this strong limit on the achievable horizons limits its usefulness.

With the challenge comes the cure: it turns out that information theory can again be used to address this issue in a consistent and coherent way by understanding what particular space structures “do” to their informational landscape and making use of this to extend the empowerment horizon far beyond what was possible before.

2012 © Adaptive Systems Research Group

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