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Cognitive Architectures

  • ACT-R is a cognitive architecture: a theory for simulating and understanding human cognition. It comes bundled with CCL (Clozure Common Lisp).


  • Soar is another option. Soar is appropriate for building autonomous agents that use large bodies of knowledge to generate action in pursuit of goals.
  • All of the knowledge in a Soar agent is represented as if-then rules. Rules are called productions, and the wording is used interchangeably.
  • The if parts are the conditions. The then parts are the actions.
  • How do rules and operators fit together?
sp {hello-world
   (state <s> ^type state)
   (write |Hello World|)
  • Every rule starts with the symbol sp, which stands for Soar production. The --> separates the if and then parts of the rule. The name of the rule can be any arbitrary combination of letters, numbers, dashes (-), and asterisks (*).

Working Memory

  • In Soar, all of working memory is organized as graph structures in states, for example, S1.
  • Soar has two kinds of nodes: identifiers (non-terminal) and constants (terminal).
  • The links are called attributes and they are prefaced by a ^.
  • The minimal contents of working memory:
(S1 ^superstate nil)
(S1 ^io I1)
(S1 ^type state)
(I1 ^output-link I2)
(I1 ^input-link I3)
  • A collection of working memory elements that shares the same first identifier is called an object. The elements that make up the object are called augmentations. An individual augmentation might be something like: (S1 ^type state).
  • The exact representation of objects is up to you.

Atomic Components of Thought