Belief and Truth in Hypothesised Behaviours

My PhD student, Stefano Albrecht, will have his viva voce examination this Wednesday. As is the convention in some parts of our School, he will give a pre-viva talk at IF 2.33 between 10 – 11 am on Wednesday, 19th August.

His talk abstract: This thesis is concerned with a specific class of multiagent interaction problems, called ‘ad hoc coordination problems’, wherein the goal is to design an autonomous agent which can achieve flexible and efficient interaction with other agents whose behaviours are unknown. This problem is relevant for a number of applications, such as adaptive user interfaces, electronic trading markets, and robotic elderly care. A useful method of interaction in such problems is to hypothesise a set of possible behaviours, or ‘types’, and to plan our own actions with respect to those types which we believe are most likely, given the observed actions. We investigate the potential and limitations of this method in the context of ad hoc coordination, by addressing a spectrum of questions pertaining to the evolution and impact of beliefs as well as the implications and detection of incorrect hypothesised types. Specifically, how can evidence (i.e. observed actions) be incorporated into beliefs and under what conditions will the resulting beliefs be correct? What impact do prior beliefs (before observing any actions) have on our ability to maximise payoffs in the long-term and can they be computed automatically? Furthermore, what relation must the hypothesised types have to the true types in order for us to solve our task optimally, despite inaccuracies in hypothesised types? Finally, how can we ascertain the correctness of hypothesised types during the interaction, without knowledge of the true types? The talk will conclude with interesting open questions and future work.

While his thesis will become available in due course, you can get an idea of the main argument in this submission to the AI Journal:, entitled Belief and Truth in Hypothesised Behaviours.


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