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Active Inference or Control as Inference? A Unifying View

Abraham Imohiosen; Joe Watson; Jan Peters
In: Tim Verbelen; Pablo Lanillos; Christopher L. Buckley; Cedric De Boom (Hrsg.). Active Inference - First International Workshop. International Workshop on Active Inference (IWAI-2020), September 14, Ghent, Belgium, Pages 12-19, Communications in Computer and Information Science, Vol. 1326, Springer, 2020.


Active inference (AI) is a persuasive theoretical framework from computational neuroscience that seeks to describe action and perception as inference-based computation. However, this framework has yet to provide practical sensorimotor control algorithms that are competitive with alternative approaches. In this work, we frame active inference through the lens of control as inference (CaI), a body of work that presents trajectory optimization as inference. From the wider view of `probabilistic numerics', CaI offers principled, numerically robust optimal control solvers that provide uncertainty quantification, and can scale to nonlinear problems with approximate inference. We show that AI may be framed as partially-observed CaI when the cost function is defined specifically in the observation states.

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