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Complexity Digest Blog Header

A Theory of Cheap Control in Embodied Systems

Sat, 12 Sep 2015 09:18:40 GMT

Given a body and an environment, what is the brain complexity needed in order to generate a desired set of behaviors? The general understanding is that the physical properties of the body and the environment correlate with the required brain complexity. More precisely, it has been pointed that naturally evolved intelligent systems tend to exploit their embodiment constraints and that this allows them to express complex behaviors with relatively concise brains. Although this principle of parsimonious control has been formulated quite some time ago, only recently one has begun to develop the formalism that is required for making quantitative statements on the sufficient brain complexity given embodiment constraints. In this work we propose a precise mathematical approach that links the physical and behavioral constraints of an agent to the required controller complexity. As controller architecture we choose a well-known artificial neural network, the conditional restricted Boltzmann machine, and define its complexity as the number of hidden units. We conduct experiments with a virtual six-legged walking creature, which provide evidence for the accuracy of the theoretical predictions.

Montúfar G, Ghazi-Zahedi K, Ay N (2015) A Theory of Cheap Control in Embodied Systems. PLoS Comput Biol 11(9): e1004427. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1004427

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