Toward a Unified Theory of Learning: Multistrategy Task-Adaptive Learning
Ryszard S. Michalski
Any learning process can be viewed as a self-modification of the leaxnefs current knowledge tArough an. interaction with some information source. Such knowledge modification is guided by the learner's deshe to achieve a certain outcome, and can engage any kind of inference. The type of inference involved depends on he input information, the current (background) knowledge and the learneFs task ax hand. Based on such a view of learning, several fundamental concepts are analized and clarified, in paxticular, analytic and synthetic learning, derivm:ional and hypothetical explanation, constnictive induction, abduction, abstraction and deductive generalization. It is shown that inductive generalization and abduction can be viewed as two basic forms of general induction, and that abstraction and deductive generalization axe two related forms of constructive deduction. Using this conceptual framework, a methodology for multistrategy task-adaptive learning (MTL) is outlined, in which learning strategies axe combined dynamically, depending on the current learning situation. Speccally, an MTL learner anaLizes a "wiad" relationship among the input information, the background knowledge and the learning task, and on that basis determines which strategy, or. a combination thereof, is most appropriate at a given learning step. To implement the MTL methodology, a new knowledge representation is proposed, based on the parametric association rules (PARs). Basic ideas of MTL are illustrated by means of the well-known "cup" example, through which is shown how an MTL learner can employ, depending the above mad relationship, emprical learning, constructive inductive generalization, abduction, explanation-based learning and absuaction.