Archive for January, 2012

Weekly QUEST Discussion Topics Jan 27th

January 27, 2012 Leave a comment

This week we are excited to have guest speaker Prof. Robert L. Fry present to the group. Prof Fry will give a similar presentation to the talk that he did for AFIT’s colloquium series on Thursday, titled ‘”Qualia, Intelligence, and Computation”.

Please see the attached document for details and a short summary.

Look forward to the presentation and follow up discussion.

Prof Robert L Fry on “Qualia, Intelligence, and Computation”


Filling in Illusion

January 25, 2012 Leave a comment

Negative color after effect

January 25, 2012 Leave a comment

stare at the red dot on the girls nose for 30 seconds

then turn away from the computer toward a blank wall or ceiling and stare at the same spot while blinking your eyes continuously

Colloquium Series on “Qualia, Intelligence, and Computation”

January 20, 2012 Leave a comment

The AFIT Department of Mathematics and Statistics Applied Mathematics and
Statistics Colloquium Series announces a presentation by:

Robert L. Fry

Johns Hopkins Univeristy/Applied Physics Laboratory


“Qualia, Intelligence, and Computation”

Thursday, 26 Jan, 1400 – 1450 hrs.

AFIT Building 640 Room 244

Abstract: (please also see attached document)

This talk is an update to another given to the AFIT Physics Department in
May 2007 titled “The Engineering of Intelligent Systems.” The emerging
framework described there has matured significantly since and is lends
itself to quantifying the notion of qualia and the active flow of
information and decisions to and from an open system. These systems include
intelligent, biological, dissipative physical systems, and “algorithms.”
Qualia can be seen as the most elementary computational tokens within this
general theory of computation and capture how a system mechanistically
acquires information from and in turn makes decisions on how it wants to
effect its environment. It should be noted that things that we can “do”
share the title of being “qualia” along with those things that we can
“know.” In either case, these are the percepts we subjectively distinguish.
Together, the requirements of subjective distinguishability and causality
provide a coherent and logically consistent basis for a computational
framework that describes the objective rules and dynamics of subjective
Progress since the prior talk includes answering two questions
critical to developing a complete engineering framework. The first was how
a system can solve the game-theoretic optimization problems so as to be
practically realizable. The second problem is drawn from so-called “rabbit
hole” analogy in turn drawn from the book “Alice in Wonderland” and deals
with how we should behave when confronted with uncertainty in what is known,
what to do, or both.
Once the engineering framework is summarized, examples and sample
applications are given in the areas of neural computation, ballistic missile
defense, algorithm design, and cancer research. Cortical neurons provide an
especially useful and constructive demonstration of the theory and
engineering framework. This talk ends with a synopsis of a recent
interesting finding. The term “qualia” and the fundamental notion and
definition of “strict” logical implication in logic have a common originator
– the great American philosopher C. I. Lewis. This may be surprising, but
should not since these concepts are inseparable. Lewis clearly understood
the importance of both notions.

About the speaker:

Robert Fry has bachelor degrees in computer science and electrical
engineering (EE) and a Masters degree in EE from the Johns Hopkins
University where he worked since 1979 and is currently Principal
Professional Staff. His principal job is combat and weapon system
engineering. He has extensive experience with the US Navy AEGIS combat
system and the development and evolution of many missile and weapon systems
including PATRIOT, THAAD, HARPOON, RAM, Tomahawk, AMRAAM, and the entire
Standard Missile family. Robert also performs basic research and is
transitioning a computational theory of intelligence into a formal framework
for the design and realization of intelligent systems. The transitioning
process has been guided by the two pathfinder applications; ballistic
missile defense (BMD) and neural computation where he has many publications
since 1994. In the latter, he has successfully applied the theory to
reverse-engineer cortical neurons as found in brains. Robert holds 5 US
patents including a Photoscreener for Infants and Preschool children now
being licensed and another in Cybernetic Systems. He teaches graduate
courses at Johns Hopkins University in Probability and Information Theory,
Random Processes, Digital Signal Processing, and various short courses in
missile and combat system engineering system taught domestically and
internationally.2012-01-26 Fry

Weekly QUEST Discussion Topics, Jan 20

January 20, 2012 Leave a comment

QUEST Discussion Topics Jan 20

This week we will start by answering any questions people have left over from the overview lectures from the last two weeks. So if you have concerns about that material jot them down and lets hash them out. The Second topic will be Memory. There have been several questions about what we mean by Working memory and long term memory. We will frame our discussion around three recent Scientific American articles.

1.) A Feeling for the Past – Emotion engraves the brain with vivid recollections but cleverly distorts your brain’s record of what really took place …So-called flashbulb memories actually fade considerably even though, paradoxically, they seem so vivid that we hold a misguided confidence in their fidelity … Putting a positive spin on a bad situation—a technique called cognitive reappraisal—can bothenhance accuracy in emotional memories and diminish their negative overtones …Happy memories are susceptible to distortion, too. We tend to recall fewer perceptual details of pleasant events, however, than of troublesome ones…what distinguishes flashbulb memories is “this sense of enhanced vividness and inflated confidence that we have in the accuracy, this sense that I will never forget ‘X.’”… For one thing, emotion is selective in how it enhances memory. Experts noticed long ago the “weapon focus effect”…Instead older adults appear to actively manage their emotions by paying less attention to negative things…How sleep meddles with memories, however, is complex…Another potential way to enhance accuracy in emotional memories while also damping down their negative overtones is to put a positive spin on a bad situation—a technique called cognitive reappraisal…
2.) Totaling Recall: manipulating / erasing memories – decades scientists believed that long-term memories were immutable—unstable for a few hours and then etched into the brain for good. Research now suggests that recalling a memory causes it to revert temporarily to an insecure state, in which the recollection can be added to, modified, even erased…possibility of deleting, or at least muting, parts of human memory with drugs or targeted therapies…To create, or consolidate, stable long-term memories, the brain must synthesize specific proteins in the hours after events occur…brief window before the memory is “reconsolidated,” it is susceptible to perturbation. “We used to think the memories we had were pictures of the original event. Now we know that it is the last version of the memory because each time we retrieve it, it changes a little bit,… Blocking the actions of the enzyme PKMzeta in rats wiped out the animals’ recollections of the event…
3.) Trying to Forget – Solomon Shereshevsky could recite entire speeches, word for word, after hearing them once. In minutes, he memorized complex math formulas, passages in foreign languages and tables consisting of 50 numbers or nonsense syllables. The traces of these sequences were so durably etched in his brain that he could reproduce them years later…weight of all the memories, piled up and overlapping in his brain, created crippling confusion. S could not fathom the meaning of a story, because the words got in the way…The problem with our memories is not that nothing comes to mind—but that irrelevant stuff comes to mind…attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are also more likely to be among the forgetless (to coin a term). In short, memory—and forgetting—can shape your personality…reported that instructions to forget some learned items could enhance memory for others. Forgetting is therefore not a sign of an inferior intellect— but quite the opposite. The purpose of forgetting, he wrote, is to prevent thoughts no longer needed from interfering with the handling of current information…There’s a huge range in how effective people are at forgetting…

Categories: Uncategorized

QUEST Discussion Topics and News Jan 13 2012

January 12, 2012 Leave a comment

QUEST Discussion Topics and News Jan 13

This meeting will consist of Capt Amerika giving the QUEST overview talk in its entirety. For those who have never heard the whole story this is a great opportunity to get caught up, and for those who have heard it before we look forward to any and all criticisms/suggestions for how to improve upon it.

Slides to come for those interested, let me know and I’ll distribute them individually.

Categories: Uncategorized

Welcome Back

January 3, 2012 Leave a comment

Quest Topics for Jan 6
Quest Topics for Jan 6, 2012
1.) We will start the new year by having an open discussion on the focus of quest. Although we will have a power point outline of the flow the goal is not to give you the story but to have the participants re-synch our common language / terminology / goals. Below is the current outline we will use – welcome back!

QUEST Point Paper (Qualia Exploitation of Sensing Technology)
Jan 6, 2012
Dr. Steve Rogers (‘Capt Amerika’)

Walk Away Points – QUEST – Cognitive Exoskeleton for Intelligence Amplification, IA not AI:
1.) Purpose of QUEST: Need for solutions to facilitate decision making in many areas – ISR/ PCPAD (layered sensing = ‘what to look at’), Cyber, ISHM, Cognitive EW, SSA, Medical, … . In all these areas we don’t lack data – in fact they all suffer from ‘drowning in data’. We lack relevant information! We don’t expect a magic bullet to replace the human thus the need for an integrated human/computer solution = flexible autonomy.

2.) What is unique about QUEST: traditional approaches put the computer between the world (cloud of potentially useful sensors and data) and the human. This results in – What is it doing? Why is it doing that? What will it do next? Quest solutions designed to allow the human / computer to align with each other, wingman solutions. The computer has a representation of the human’s representation of the battle space and vice versa, Theory of Mind. Along these lines we have an agent specific definition of data, information and context.

3.) Key characteristics of QUEST solutions:

a. Dual Process theory – intuition system (sys1) blended with deliberation system (sys2).

i. Autistic Sys1 (Intuition – Data Driven Artificial Intelligence, DDAI) – facilitate quick reflexive responses to stimuli that are close to prior experiences, signature based recognition. Conclusions of decisions made in sys1, gut or hunch decisions, are posted to the Sys2 representation without the details of the methodology, intuition.

ii. Deliberation Sys2 (‘feeling’ = Qualia) – multi-modal subjective simulation based narratives (artificial conscious representation where fundamental unit of cognition is a situation used for perception, recollection and for imagination) to allow handling the unexpected Query (includes a pattern completion inference mechanism – most of the concepts in perception are inferred not captured by sensors) and the key to re-programming of Sys1. Situated Conceptualization – Qualia theory of Relativity = red doesn’t come from the object it is created in your mind, making a computer that can ‘feel’. The conceptualizer is placed in the representation and provides the ‘feeling’ of self.

b. Theory – a common mathematical framework for both the human and the computer decision aid allows for theoretical bounding of performance of the integrated solution – a Theory of Knowledge (what can this team of humans/computers know?).

c. Close the Loop – interaction with the environment is the key to the generation of a stable, consistent and useful representation. Plausible narratives compete for attention and are continually refined based on their stability, consistency and usefulness.

Application Details ‘where are we now?’

4.) ISR/PCPAD – recently initiated -WAMI/FMV where do I look? How do I process all this extras data without increasing the number of human analysts? (Mission Driven Exploitation) – solve the layered sensing / D2D challenge – PCPADx cognitive unification, analyst pull

5.) Cyber – We have young airmen in the Network Defense business watching screens not unlike those in the DGSs watching video. We have malware detection approaches that are autistic. QUEST ‘unknown malware’ approaches allow humans to make better decisions because they can align the information provided to them to the decisions they have to make.

6.) Integrated Systems Health Monitoring – We have F-15s falling out of the sky and modern composite aircraft that we don’t know how to maintain. Addressing these issues by permeating the structures with sensors leads us back to the data overload issue and don’t address the fundamental question, ‘Can I do this mission in this aircraft at this moment?’ Initiated effort to bench test quest solutions.

Application domain agnostic flexible autonomy solutions to Sensor Data Exploitation are the key for a revolutionary breakthrough in the drowning in data problem.

Currently 125 people are active on the weekly mailings from across the country! Mixture of academics, industry and government scientists and engineers.