Artificial Intelligence

Evolutionary Surrogate-assisted Prescription

Friday, August 21, 2020, 11:00am - 12:00pm PSTiCal
VTC Only
This event is open to the public.
AI Seminar
Risto Miikkulainen (Univ of Texas)

Slide Deck:

How can we make good decisions in business, engineering design, science, education, and indeed in life in general? Good decisions are often based on experience: recalling what decisions were made in similar situations in the past, how well they worked out, and modifying them to achieve good outcomes in current situation. But there is an element of trial and error as well. The situation maybe different from anything that was seen before, or it may be desirable to do better than in the past. Evolutionary Surrogate-assisted Prescription (ESP) is a machine learning technology that makes it possible to come up with good decision strategies automatically. The idea is to use historical data to build a predictive surrogate model, and population based search (i.e. evolutionary computation) to discover good decision strategies. Each strategy is evaluated with the surrogate instead of the real world, so that millions of strategies can be tested before they are deployed in the real world (where mistakes may be costly). In this talk I’ll review the technology and evaluate it in several examples, including optimizing behavior in sequential decision tasks, and optimizing non-pharmaceutical interventions in the COVID-19 pandemic. The method is found to be sample efficient and creative, forming a foundation for optimizing many decision tasks in the future.

Risto Miikkulainen is a Professor of Computer Science at the
University of Texas at Austin and Associate VP of Evolutionary AI at
Cognizant. He received an M.S. in Engineering from Helsinki University
of Technology (now Aalto University) in 1986, and a Ph.D. in Computer
Science from UCLA in 1990. His current research focuses on methods
and applications of neuroevolution, as well as neural network models
of natural language processing and vision; he is an author of over 430
articles in these research areas. At Cognizant, and previously as CTO
of Sentient Technologies, he is scaling up these approaches to
real-world problems. Risto is an IEEE Fellow; his work on
neuroevolution has recently been recognized with the IEEE CIS
Evolutionary Computation Pioneer Award, the Gabor Award of the
International Neural Network Society and Outstanding Paper of the
Decade Award of the International Society for Artificial Life.

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