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Poster
Program Synthesis with Pragmatic Communication
Yewen Pu · Kevin Ellis · Marta Kryven · Josh Tenenbaum · Armando Solar-Lezama

Thu Dec 10 09:00 AM -- 11:00 AM (PST) @ Poster Session 5 #1675

Program synthesis techniques construct or infer programs from user-provided specifications, such as input-output examples. Yet most specifications, especially those given by end-users, leave the synthesis problem radically ill-posed, because many programs may simultaneously satisfy the specification. Prior work resolves this ambiguity by using various inductive biases, such as a preference for simpler programs. This work introduces a new inductive bias derived by modeling the program synthesis task as rational communication, drawing insights from recursive reasoning models of pragmatics. Given a specification, we score a candidate program both on its consistency with the specification, and also whether a rational speaker would chose this particular specification to communicate that program. We develop efficient algorithms for such an approach when learning from input-output examples, and build a pragmatic program synthesizer over a simple grid-like layout domain. A user study finds that end-user participants communicate more effectively with the pragmatic program synthesizer over a non-pragmatic one.

Author Information

Yewen Pu (autodesk)
Kevin Ellis (MIT)
Marta Kryven (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
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).

Armando Solar-Lezama (MIT)

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