Happiness Report Card for Seattle
Eldan Goldenberg, Laura Musikanski & John de Graaf
A comprehensive report back to the City on the results of a happiness survey conducted in 2011 by The Happiness Initiative.
The Farm Bill: a pressing issue for Americans who eat
A short piece commissioned for the P-Patch Post (a newsletter for Seattle’s allotment gardens programme), explaining why the U.S. Farm Bill matters to everyone in the country, and how the 2007 update to the Bill was shaping up, as of August that year.
There are two versions:
As printed, within tight space constraints: download PDF
With detailed references, for website only: download PDF
May We Have Your Attention: Analysis of a Selective Attention Task
Eldan Goldenberg, Jacob Garcowski & Randall D. Beer
In S. Schaal, A. Ijspeert, A. Billard, S. Vijayakumar, J. Hallam & J-A. Meyer (Eds.), From Animals to Animats 8: Proceedings of the Eighth International Conference on the Simulation of Adaptive Behavior (pp 49-56). MIT Press.
Abstract: In this paper we present a deeper analysis than has previously been carried out of a selective attention problem, and the evolution of continuous-time recurrent neural networks to solve it. We show that the task has a rich structure, and agents must solve a variety of subproblems to perform well. We consider the relationship between the complexity of an agent and the ease with which it can evolve behavior that generalizes well across subproblems, and demonstrate a shaping protocol that improves generalization.
Abstract: The increasing quantity of data held by organisations about individuals, and the recent development of digital press capable of one-off printing at a quality rivalling offset machines, have created a demand for a method to automatically generate page layouts. The present solutions to this are either to use skilled labour to hand-design each page, or constrain the design tightly by fitting everything to a template, both of which have significant drawbacks.
This thesis describes a Genetic Algorithm that automatically generates page layouts, without the need for costly and time-consuming human design, and with considerably more flexibility than a template-based approach. The GA is based on related work in VLSI floorplanning, which is described and adapted for the print context. This method was found to produce attractive layouts with a relatively small number of iterations, even though the only explicit goal in the program was to minimise wasted space. Visual representations of the layout are presented and discussed, together with an analysis of the search space and the speed with which the GA finds a solution. The range of document types for which this method produces attractive layouts is considered, and finally suggestions are made for future work, which would make the system into a more complete layout generation tool.
The key novel ideas in this thesis are summarised in a patent application entitled ‘Page composition‘ submitted by Hewlett-Packard to the UK Patent Office on Friday 30th August 2002.
Why curiosity didn’t kill the primate
University of Sussex Cognitive Science Research Paper 547
Abstract: This paper considers the complex problem of why societies in many species, with special reference to chimpanzees and humans, are socially conservative, even when this prevents apparently adaptive behaviours from being adopted by social groups. Several theories are presented, with a focus on the benefits of social cohesion and social learning, and the likelihood that a heavily conservative society will reinforce such processes while also reducing individual experimentation. The difficulties of addressing such theories empirically are considered and some suggestions for further observations that would clarify matters are put forward. Finally the relevance of chimpanzee behaviour to understanding human society is argued for.