The Pragmatic Roots of Context

  • Bruce Edmonds
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 1688)


When modelling complex systems one can not include all the causal factors, but one has to settle for partial models. This is alright if the factors left out are either so constant that they can be ignored or one is able to recognise the circumstances when they will be such that the partial model applies. The transference of knowledge from the point of application to the point of learning utilises a combination of recognition and inference — a simple model of the important features is learnt and later situations where inferences can be drawn from the model are recognised. Context is an abstraction of the collection of background features that are later recognised. Different heuristics for recognition and model formulation will be effective for different learning tasks. Each of these will lead to a different type of context. Given this, there two ways of modelling context: one can either attempt to investigate the contexts that arise out of the heuristics that a particular agent actually applies or one can attempt to model context using the external source of regularity that the heuristics exploit. There are also two basic methodologies for the investigation of context: a top-down approach where one tries to lay down general, a priori principles and a bottom-up approach where one can try and find what sorts of context arise by experiment and simulation. A simulation is exhibited which is designed to illustrate the practicality of the bottom-up approach in elucidating the sorts of internal context that arise in an artificial agent which is attempting to learn simple models of a complex environment.


Learning Task Knowledge Representation Output Node Artificial Agent Modelling Context 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bruce Edmonds
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Policy ModellingManchester Metropolitan UniversityManchesterUK

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