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Proceedings Paper

Application of a model of instrumental conditioning to mobile robot control
Author(s): Lisa M. Saksida; D. S. Touretzky
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Paper Abstract

Instrumental conditioning is a psychological process whereby an animal learns to associate its actions with their consequences. This type of learning is exploited in animal training techniques such as 'shaping by successive approximations,' which enables trainers to gradually adjust the animal's behavior by giving strategically timed reinforcements. While this is similar in principle to reinforcement learning, the real phenomenon includes many subtle effects not considered in the machine learning literature. In addition, a good deal of domain information is utilized by an animal learning a new task; it does not start from scratch every time it learns a new behavior. For these reasons, it is not surprising that mobile robot learning algorithms have yet to approach the sophistication and robustness of animal learning. A serious attempt to model instrumental learning could prove fruitful for improving machine learning techniques. In the present paper, we develop a computational theory of shaping at a level appropriate for controlling mobile robots. The theory is based on a series of mechanisms for 'behavior editing,' in which pre-existing behaviors, either innate or previously learned, can be dramatically changed in magnitude, shifted in direction, or otherwise manipulated so as to produce new behavioral routines. We have implemented our theory on Amelia, an RWI B21 mobile robot equipped with a gripper and color video camera. We provide results from training Amelia on several tasks, all of which were constructed as variations of one innate behavior, object-pursuit.

Paper Details

Date Published: 22 September 1997
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 3209, Sensor Fusion and Decentralized Control in Autonomous Robotic Systems, (22 September 1997); doi: 10.1117/12.287655
Show Author Affiliations
Lisa M. Saksida, Carnegie Mellon Univ. (United States)
D. S. Touretzky, Carnegie Mellon Univ. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3209:
Sensor Fusion and Decentralized Control in Autonomous Robotic Systems
Paul S. Schenker; Gerard T. McKee, Editor(s)

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