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Title: Learning action representations using kernel perceptrons
Author: Mourao, Kira Margaret Thom
ISNI:       0000 0004 2745 9495
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2012
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Action representation is fundamental to many aspects of cognition, including language. Theories of situated cognition suggest that the form of such representation is distinctively determined by grounding in the real world. This thesis tackles the question of how to ground action representations, and proposes an approach for learning action models in noisy, partially observable domains, using deictic representations and kernel perceptrons. Agents operating in real-world settings often require domain models to support planning and decision-making. To operate effectively in the world, an agent must be able to accurately predict when its actions will be successful, and what the effects of its actions will be. Only when a reliable action model is acquired can the agent usefully combine sequences of actions into plans, in order to achieve wider goals. However, learning the dynamics of a domain can be a challenging problem: agents’ observations may be noisy, or incomplete; actions may be non-deterministic; the world itself may be noisy; or the world may contain many objects and relations which are irrelevant. In this thesis, I first show that voted perceptrons, equipped with the DNF family of kernels, easily learn action models in STRIPS domains, even when subject to noise and partial observability. Key to the learning process is, firstly, the implicit exploration of the space of conjunctions of possible fluents (the space of potential action preconditions) enabled by the DNF kernels; secondly, the identification of objects playing similar roles in different states, enabled by a simple deictic representation; and lastly, the use of an attribute-value representation for world states. Next, I extend the model to more complex domains by generalising both the kernel and the deictic representation to a relational setting, where world states are represented as graphs. Finally, I propose a method to extract STRIPS-like rules from the learnt models. I give preliminary results for STRIPS domains and discuss how the method can be extended to more complex domains. As such, the model is both appropriate for learning data generated by robot explorations as well as suitable for use by automated planning systems. This combination is essential for the development of autonomous agents which can learn action models from their environment and use them to generate successful plans.
Supervisor: Steedman, Mark; Willshaw, David; Petrick, Ron Sponsor: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: planning ; cognitive robotics ; kernel perceptrons ; action representations