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Formal approaches to a definition of agents

Abstract · Apr 10, 2017 05:45 ·

formal biehl hertfordshire fulfilment phd andreas partial martin requirements cs-ai cs-it cs-ma math-it

Arxiv Abstract

  • Martin Biehl

This thesis contributes to the formalisation of the notion of an agent within the class of finite multivariate Markov chains. Agents are seen as entities that act, perceive, and are goal-directed. We present a new measure that can be used to identify entities (called $\iota$-entities), some general requirements for entities in multivariate Markov chains, as well as formal definitions of actions and perceptions suitable for such entities. The intuition behind $\iota$-entities is that entities are spatiotemporal patterns for which every part makes every other part more probable. The measure, complete local integration (CLI), is formally investigated in general Bayesian networks. It is based on the specific local integration (SLI) which is measured with respect to a partition. CLI is the minimum value of SLI over all partitions. We prove that $\iota$-entities are blocks in specific partitions of the global trajectory. These partitions are the finest partitions that achieve a given SLI value. We also establish the transformation behaviour of SLI under permutations of nodes in the network. We go on to present three conditions on general definitions of entities. These are not fulfilled by sets of random variables i.e.\ the perception-action loop, which is often used to model agents, is too restrictive. We propose that any general entity definition should in effect specify a subset (called an an entity-set) of the set of all spatiotemporal patterns of a given multivariate Markov chain. The set of $\iota$-entities is such a set. Importantly the perception-action loop also induces an entity-set. We then propose formal definitions of actions and perceptions for arbitrary entity-sets. These specialise to standard notions in case of the perception-action loop entity-set. Finally we look at some very simple examples.

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