A Neural Network Architecture for Autonomous Learning, Recognition, and Prediction in a Nonstationary World
Carpenter, Gail A.
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In a constantly changing world, humans are adapted to alternate routinely between attending to familiar objects and testing hypotheses about novel ones. We can rapidly learn to recognize and narne novel objects without unselectively disrupting our memories of familiar ones. We can notice fine details that differentiate nearly identical objects and generalize across broad classes of dissimilar objects. This chapter describes a class of self-organizing neural network architectures--called ARTMAP-- that are capable of fast, yet stable, on-line recognition learning, hypothesis testing, and naming in response to an arbitrary stream of input patterns (Carpenter, Grossberg, Markuzon, Reynolds, and Rosen, 1992; Carpenter, Grossberg, and Reynolds, 1991). The intrinsic stability of ARTMAP allows the system to learn incrementally for an unlimited period of time. System stability properties can be traced to the structure of its learned memories, which encode clusters of attended features into its recognition categories, rather than slow averages of category inputs. The level of detail in the learned attentional focus is determined moment-by-moment, depending on predictive success: an error due to over-generalization automatically focuses attention on additional input details enough of which are learned in a new recognition category so that the predictive error will not be repeated. An ARTMAP system creates an evolving map between a variable number of learned categories that compress one feature space (e.g., visual features) to learned categories of another feature space (e.g., auditory features). Input vectors can be either binary or analog. Computational properties of the networks enable them to perform significantly better in benchmark studies than alternative machine learning, genetic algorithm, or neural network models. Some of the critical problems that challenge and constrain any such autonomous learning system will next be illustrated. Design principles that work together to solve these problems are then outlined. These principles are realized in the ARTMAP architecture, which is specified as an algorithm. Finally, ARTMAP dynamics are illustrated by means of a series of benchmark simulations.