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Machine learning meets human learning
Nathaniel D Daw · Tom Griffiths · Josh Tenenbaum · Jerry Zhu

Fri Dec 12 07:30 AM -- 06:30 PM (PST) @ Hilton: Black Tusk
Event URL: http://pages.cs.wisc.edu/~jerryzhu/nips08.html »

Can statistical machine learning theories and algorithms help explain human learning? Broadly speaking, machine learning studies the fundamental laws that govern all learning processes, including both artificial systems (e.g., computers) and natural systems (e.g., humans). It has long been understood that theories and algorithms from machine learning are relevant to understanding aspects of human learning. Human cognition also carries potential lessons for machine learning research, since people still learn languages, concepts, and causal relationships from far less data than any automated system. There is a rich opportunity to develop a general theory of learning which covers both machines and humans, with the potential to deepen our understanding of human cognition and to take insights from human learning to improve machine learning systems. The goal of this workshop is to bring together the different communities that study machine learning, cognitive science, neuroscience and educational science. We will investigate the value of advanced machine learning theories and algorithms as computational models for certain human learning behaviors, including, but not limited to, the role of prior knowledge, learning from labeled and unlabeled data, learning from active queries, and so on. We also wish to explore the insights from the cognitive study of human learning to inspire novel machine learning theories and algorithms. It is our hope that the NIPS workshop will provide a venue for cross-pollination of machine learning approaches and cognitive theories of learning to spur further advances in both areas.

Author Information

Nathaniel D Daw (New York University)

Nathaniel Daw is Assistant Professor of Neural Science and Psychology and Affiliated Assistant Professor of Computer Science at New York University. Prior to this he completed his PhD in Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University and pursued postdoctoral research at the Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit at UCL. His research concerns reinforcement learning and decision making from a computational approach, and particularly the application of computational models to the analysis of behavioral and neural data. He is the recipient of a McKnight Scholar Award, a NARSAD Young Investigator Award, and a Royal Society USA Research Fellowship.

Tom Griffiths (Princeton)
Josh Tenenbaum (MIT)

Josh Tenenbaum is an Associate Professor of Computational Cognitive Science at MIT in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). He received his PhD from MIT in 1999, and was an Assistant Professor at Stanford University from 1999 to 2002. He studies learning and inference in humans and machines, with the twin goals of understanding human intelligence in computational terms and bringing computers closer to human capacities. He focuses on problems of inductive generalization from limited data -- learning concepts and word meanings, inferring causal relations or goals -- and learning abstract knowledge that supports these inductive leaps in the form of probabilistic generative models or 'intuitive theories'. He has also developed several novel machine learning methods inspired by human learning and perception, most notably Isomap, an approach to unsupervised learning of nonlinear manifolds in high-dimensional data. He has been Associate Editor for the journal Cognitive Science, has been active on program committees for the CogSci and NIPS conferences, and has co-organized a number of workshops, tutorials and summer schools in human and machine learning. Several of his papers have received outstanding paper awards or best student paper awards at the IEEE Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), NIPS, and Cognitive Science conferences. He is the recipient of the New Investigator Award from the Society for Mathematical Psychology (2005), the Early Investigator Award from the Society of Experimental Psychologists (2007), and the Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology (in the area of cognition and human learning) from the American Psychological Association (2008).

Jerry Zhu (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

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