Towards Chunking as a General Leaming Mechanism

John E. Laird, Paul S. Rosenbloom, Allen Newell

Chunks have long been proposed as a basic organizational unit for human memory. More recently chunks have been used to model human learning on simple perceptual-motor skills. In this paper we describe recent progress in extending chunking to be a general learning mechanism by implementing it within a general problem solver. Using the Soar problem-solving architecture, we take significant steps toward a general problem solver that can learn about all aspects of its behavior. We demonstrate chunking in Soar on three tasks: the Eight Puzzle, Tic-Tat-Toe, and a part of the RI computer-configuration task. Not only is there improvement with practice, but chunking also produces significant transfer of learned behavior, and strategy acquisition.

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