Cognitive control: a nice bunch of definitions and state-of-the-art

S. Haykin, M. Fatemi, P. Setoodeh and Y. Xue, Cognitive Control, in Proceedings of the IEEE, vol. 100, no. 12, pp. 3156-3169, Dec. 2012., DOI: 10.1109/JPROC.2012.2215773.

This paper is inspired by how cognitive control manifests itself in the human brain and does so in a remarkable way. It addresses the many facets involved in the control of directed information flow in a dynamic system, culminating in the notion of information gap, defined as the difference between relevant information (useful part of what is extracted from the incoming measurements) and sufficient information representing the information needed for achieving minimal risk. The notion of information gap leads naturally to how cognitive control can itself be defined. Then, another important idea is described, namely the two-state model, in which one is the system’s state and the other is the entropic state that provides an essential metric for quantifying the information gap. The entropic state is computed in the perceptual part (i.e., perceptor) of the dynamic system and sent to the controller directly as feedback information. This feedback information provides the cognitive controller the information needed about the environment and the system to bring reinforcement leaning into play; reinforcement learning (RL), incorporating planning as an integral part, is at the very heart of cognitive control. The stage is now set for a computational experiment, involving cognitive radar wherein the cognitive controller is enabled to control the receiver via the environment. The experiment demonstrates how RL provides the mechanism for improved utilization of computational resources, and yet is able to deliver good performance through the use of planning. The paper finishes with concluding remarks.

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