Self-Sustaining Iterated Learning

Authors Bernard Chazelle, Chu Wang

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Bernard Chazelle
Chu Wang

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Bernard Chazelle and Chu Wang. Self-Sustaining Iterated Learning. In 8th Innovations in Theoretical Computer Science Conference (ITCS 2017). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 67, pp. 17:1-17:17, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2017)


An important result from psycholinguistics (Griffiths & Kalish, 2005) states that no language can be learned iteratively by rational agents in a self-sustaining manner. We show how to modify the learning process slightly in order to achieve self-sustainability. Our work is in two parts. First, we characterize iterated learnability in geometric terms and show how a slight, steady increase in the lengths of the training sessions ensures self-sustainability for any discrete language class. In the second part, we tackle the nondiscrete case and investigate self-sustainability for iterated linear regression. We discuss the implications of our findings to issues of non-equilibrium dynamics in natural algorithms.
  • Iterated learning
  • language evolution
  • iterated Bayesian linear regression
  • non-equilibrium dynamics


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