TY - JOUR
T1 - A vast space of compact strategies for highly efficient decisions
JF - bioRxiv
DO - 10.1101/2022.08.10.503471
SP - 2022.08.10.503471
AU - Ma, Tzuhsuan
AU - Hermundstad, Ann M
Y1 - 2022/01/01
UR - http://biorxiv.org/content/early/2022/08/13/2022.08.10.503471.abstract
N2 - When foraging in dynamic and uncertain environments, animals can benefit from basing their decisions on smart inferences about hidden properties of the world. Typical theoretical approaches to understand the strategies that animals use in such settings combine Bayesian inference and value iteration to derive optimal behavioral policies that maximize total reward given changing beliefs about the environment. However, specifying these beliefs requires infinite numerical precision; with limited resources, this problem can no longer be separated into optimizing inference and optimizing action selections. To understand the space of behavioral policies in this constrained setting, we enumerate and evaluate all possible behavioral programs that can be constructed from just a handful of states. We show that only a small fraction of the top-performing programs can be constructed by approximating Bayesian inference; the remaining programs are structurally or even functionally distinct from Bayesian. To assess structural and functional relationships among all programs, we developed novel tree embedding algorithms; these embeddings, which are capable of extracting different relational structures within the program space, reveal that nearly all good programs are closely connected through single algorithmic “mutations”. We demonstrate how one can use such relational structures to efficiently search for good solutions via an evolutionary algorithm. Moreover, these embeddings reveal that the diversity of non-Bayesian behaviors originates from a handful of key mutations that broaden the functional repertoire within the space of good programs. The fact that this diversity of behaviors does not significantly compromise performance suggests a novel approach for studying how these strategies generalize across tasks.Competing Interest StatementThe authors have declared no competing interest.
ER -