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FYI: Cognitive Modeling, Linguasphere Register

Author: Ron Sun

FYI Body: Announcing four papers on cognitive modeling and cognitive architectures
based on hybrid reinforcement learning methods --- the CLARION model:

A paper on cognitive modeling using CLARION:
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>From Implicit Skills to Explicit Knowledge: A Bottom-Up Model of Skill Learning

Ron Sun
Edward Merrill
Todd Peterson

To appear in: Cognitive Science.

This paper presents a skill learning model {\sc Clarion}. Different from
existing models of mostly high-level skill learning that use a top-down
approach (that is, turning declarative knowledge into procedural knowledge
through practice), we adopt a bottom-up approach toward low-level skill
learning, where procedural knowledge develops first and
declarative knowledge develops later. Our model is formed
by integrating connectionist, reinforcement, and symbolic learning
methods to perform on-line reactive learning.
It adopts a two-level dual-representation framework
(Sun 1995), with a combination of localist and distributed representation.
We compare the model with human data in a minefield navigation task,
demonstrating some match between the model and human data in several

Two papers on accounting for consciousness computationally:
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Accounting for the Computational Basis of Consciousness: A Connectionis

Ron Sun

To appear in: Consciousness and Cognition, 1999.

This paper argues for an explanation of the mechanistic (computational)
basis of consciousness that is based on the
distinction between localist (symbolic) representation and
distributed representation, the ideas of which have been put forth in
the connectionist literature.
A model is developed to substantiate and test this approach.
The paper also explores the issue of the functional roles of consciousness,
in relation to the proposed mechanistic explanation of consciousness.
The model, embodying the representational difference, is able
to account for the functional role of consciousness,
in the form of the synergy between the conscious and the unconscious.
The fit between the model and various cognitive phenomena and data
(documented in the psychological literatures) is discussed to
accentuate the plausibility of the model and its explanation of
consciousness. Comparisons with existing models of consciousness are made
in the end.

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Learning, Action, and Consciousness: A Hybrid Approach
toward Modeling Consciousness

Ron Sun

Appeared in: Neural Networks, 10 (7), pp.1317-1331. 1997.

This paper is an attempt at understanding the issue of consciousness
through investigating its functional role, especially in learning,
and through devising hybrid neural network models tha
(in a qualitative manner) approximate characteristics of human
consciousness. In so doing, the paper examines explicit and implici
learning in a variety of psychological experiments
and delineates the conscious/unconscious distinction in
terms of the two types of learning and their respective products.
The distinctions are captured in a two-level action-based
model {\sc Clarion}. Some fundamental theoretical issues are also
clarified with the help of the model.
Comparisons with existing models of consciousness are made
to accentuate the present approach.

Finally, a paper on computational analysis of the model:
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Autonomous Learning of Sequential Tasks: Experiments and Analyses

by Ron Sun, Todd Peterson

Appeared in: IEEE Transactions on Neural Networks, Vol.9, No.6, pp.1217-1234. November, 1998.

This paper presents a novel learning model {\sc Clarion}, which is a hybrid
model based on the two-level approach proposed in Sun (1995).
The model integrates neural, reinforcement, and symbolic learning
methods to perform on-line, bottom-up learning (i.e.,
learning that goes from neural to symbolic representations).
The model utilizes both procedural and declarative knowledge
(in neural and symbolic representations respectively),
tapping into the synergy of the two types of processes.
It was applied to deal with sequential decision tasks.
Experiments and analyses in various ways
are reported that shed light on the advantages of the model.

Prof. Ron Sun
CECS Department phone: (573) 884-7662
University of Missouri-Columbia fax: (573) 882 8318
201 Engineering Building Wes
Columbia, MO 65211-2060 email:

The Linguasphere Observatory is a research network devoted to the
classification of the world's languages and dialects, the study and
promotion of multilingualism and the exploration of our global linguistic
environment. The Linguasphere website ( ) currently
contains the following extracts from the forthcoming Linguasphere Register
of the World's Languages and Speech Communities -

- the MANDIC (MANDE) languages spoken in WEST AFRICA
- the TAMAZIC (BERBER) languages spoken in NORTH AFRICA
- the SEMITIC languages spoken in NORTH AFRICA and WESTERN ASIA
- the CELTIC languages spoken in NORTHWEST EUROPE
- the INDIC (INDO-ARYAN) languages spoken in SOUTH ASIA

The observatory would be very grateful to receive comments from linguists on
these extracts, which can be viewed and downloaded (together with an
explanation of the methodology used entitled Guide to Extracts) -by
selecting the Download Extracts button on the homepage. Any scientific
support will of course be fully acknowledged.

David Dalby
Director - Linguasphere Observatory

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