Principles and Applications of Continual Computation

Eric Horvitz

Adaptive Systems and Interaction
Microsoft Research
Redmond, Washington 98052-6399

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Automated problem solving is viewed typically as the allocation of computational resources to solve one or more problems passed to a reasoning system. In response to each problem received, effort is applied in real time to generate a solution and problem solving ends when a solution is rendered. We examine continual computation, reasoning policies that capture a broader conception of problem by considering the proactive allocation of computational resources to potential future challenges. We explore policies for allocating idle time for several settings and present applications that highlight opportunities for harnessing continual computation in real-world tasks.

Keywords: Bounded rationality, value of computation, metareasoning, deliberation, compilation, speculative execution, decision-theoretic control

In: Artificial Intelligence Journal, 126:159-196, Elsevier Science, February 2001.

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