6,614 reputation
233108
bio website cs.mcgill.ca/~akazna
location Montreal, Canada
age 25
visits member for 2 years, 10 months
seen 16 hours ago

From the School of Computer Science and Department of Psychology at McGill University, I marvel at the world through algorithmic lenses. My specific interests are in quantum computing, evolutionary game theory, modern evolutionary synthesis, and theoretical cognitive science. Previously I was at the Institute for Quantum Computing and Department of Combinatorics & Optimization at the University of Waterloo and a visitor to the Centre for Quantum Technologies at the National University of Singapore.


Apr
7
comment Biological plausibility of bayesian models of cognition
I am sure that our stances are not nearly as far apart as we might think, and I will love to argue with you some more later. Unfortunately, I have a bus to catch. Cheers to tomorrow!
Apr
7
comment Biological plausibility of bayesian models of cognition
As for the distinction between model and empircal. The point is that there are MANY choices of models: your pet model leads to Bayesian fixed-points, my pet model does not. Which model better describes reality is not up to us, but up to the biologists. Hence an argument of the form "bayesian reasoning is a fixed point of my pet model of evolution" carries no weight for the biological plausibility of bayesianism, unless you can defend the biological plausibility of your pet model. Something you have not done.
Apr
7
comment Biological plausibility of bayesian models of cognition
That is exactly the point of my argument. When you say something as vague and meaningless as "dominate" you leave it free for me to interpret what that means. A natural metric from an evolutionary point of view, is biomass; the things that dominate in biomass seem to be doing almost no bayesian computation at all, so an argument of "bayesian computation is important to 'dominate'" becomes a little silly.
Apr
7
comment Biological plausibility of bayesian models of cognition
Scott is a smart guy, good complexity theorist, and teaches a fun course, but hopefully you are not actually missing the point that fixed points are properties of mathematical models and we can define models that have Bayesian reasoning as a fixed point and ones that don't (if we are going to talk quantum, imagine a model where your agents have to reason about entanglement) and selecting a model is an empirical question best left to biologist and not computer scientists.
Apr
7
comment Biological plausibility of bayesian models of cognition
If we are going to leave the actual discussion topic and move to ad hominem, should I just send a CV over, along with a 5-year research proposal on category-theoretic foundations of POMDP inference?
Apr
7
comment Biological plausibility of bayesian models of cognition
And I think you are ignorant of biology < cs.mcgill.ca/~akazna > I am sure we will both learn to live with our ignorance some day :P
Apr
7
comment Biological plausibility of bayesian models of cognition
Further, I am not doubting your credentials as a scientist, I am doubting your answer. I mean nothing personal in my comments, I really hope to have you involved and active on the site. I will be more than happy to remove my downvote if you explain in your post how you answer the question and why the last paragraph is justifiable.
Apr
7
comment Biological plausibility of bayesian models of cognition
My downvote is because of two reasons (1) it is not clear how the post answers the question, (2) the last paragraph is misleading. You can think of evolution however you like, but there is no reason to believe in it having fixed points, let alone bayesian inference having to do anything with them. Sure we can make models where such a fixed point exist, but we can also make selection models without fixed points, or ones where Bayesian inference will not be optimal. So if we want our models to be meaningful, we still have to defer to biologist, who in my experience would be pretty skeptical.
Apr
6
comment Biological plausibility of bayesian models of cognition
Further, it is not clear how this answers the question about biological plausibility of bayesian models of cognition... instead of being just a general comment on Bayesianism and maybe evolution.
Apr
6
comment Biological plausibility of bayesian models of cognition
Please cite comments like comparisons of humans to crabs or dolphins in terms of Bayesianism. Both of those do basic Bayesian inference for certain tasks. Dominated what? Most of the biomass on Earth is bacteria and plants. Your last paragraph is completely misguided. I cannot think of a single time when a serious biologist has talked about a 'fixed-point' in Darwinian evolution (apart from simple mathematical models). Assuming there is a fixed point, and 'striving towards it', and other forms of teleology are specifically what biologist try to avoid since it is unscientific and unfounded.
Apr
6
revised What is the term for “What has been seen cannot be unseen” in cognitive sciences?
added a tag
Apr
6
comment Why can a user seamlessly switch from one language input to another on the same keyboard?
@Benny If the keyboard thing is just an example and there is a more specific and formal underlying question that you are curious about, then I definitely think you should edit to ask the more specific question and then give the keyboard thing as an example. I think a more specific question will have a higher chance of being answered, and will also show us your motivation for the question and the initial thoughts you have had. Here are my personal guidelines on good questions (note that my views do not necessarily reflect the whole community).
Apr
6
comment Why can a user seamlessly switch from one language input to another on the same keyboard?
I voted to close as NARQ because I feel like it shows no initial research, is extremely broad, and seems to me to be rather vague. I would love to see a more focused and clearly stated version of this question, but I do not have enough background to make suggested edits (although a good build up question might be: "How do humans internalize keyboard layout to type without looking?" or something along those lines). As the question is, I cannot see it being answered by something other than a book-long treatment or a vague comment like @Memming's.
Apr
5
revised Is positive self-talk beneficial for those with low self-esteem?
added social-psychology tag.
Apr
5
revised To what extent are correlations of father's age with birth defects and autism causal?
added dev-psych tag and replaced age tag by standard aging tag.
Apr
5
revised Effect of words highlighting on reading comprehension
added link from comments to body of answer. Removed "any more questions?"
Apr
5
comment Effect of words highlighting on reading comprehension
@xralf thank you for improving the question! +1 now. How is you having started learning Chinese relevant? Does your reference material for learning Chinese color different characters differently?
Apr
4
comment Biological plausibility of bayesian models of cognition
Further, I would love to see your comment about the computational difficulty of bayesian inference expanded into an answer for this question if you have the time and energy.
Apr
4
comment How much information on the “Identical Strangers” experiment was actually released?
Ephraim, I do encourage you to return to cogsci, and ask focused and researched questions as you read more about and reflect on the nature-versus-nurture debate and developmental psychology in general.
Apr
4
comment Biological plausibility of bayesian models of cognition
Welcome to cogsci.SE! This is a great answer! Minor comment: could you edit in a reference section at the end to make finding the articles you cite a little bit easier? Thank you!