Interdisciplinary College

The Interdisciplinary College (IK) is an annual, intense one-week spring school and will take place from 13 to 20 March 2020 in Günne/Möhnesee, Germany. More about IK

IK2020 Focus Theme
Curiosity, Risk & Reward: Shaping Autonomous Intelligence

with Evening Lectures by:

  • Celeste Kidd, University of California, Berkeley
  • Bing Brunton, University of Washington, Seattle
  • Alex Kacelnik, Oxford University
  • Tanja Schultz, Universität Bremen

Exploring the unknown is an important element of learning. Exploring the unknown also involves risks and rewards. The scientific study of learning and development in animals, humans, artificial intelligent agents and entire societies has investigated the roles of risk and reward in many ways.

A century of intense research along these themes has led to the establishing of powerful scientific paradigms: behaviourism in psychology and neuroscience; optimal control theory in signal engineering; reinforcement learning as one of the pillars of modern machine learning; decision support systems in AI.

A current trend is to also include into the picture the purest motivation for exploration: curiosity. Curiosity arguably triggers exploration without being tied to an expected specific reward.

This year’s Interdisciplinary College explores (being itself both curiosity- and reward-driven!) the roles of curiosity, risk and reward (CRR) for the shaping of intelligence, both individual and social. The effects of CRR mechanisms can be observed on all levels from synaptic plasticity to conservatism vs. progressivism in societies.

A wide spectrum of courses will illuminate how CRR is fundamental for long-term learning and development, how it serves as a basis for and potentially conflicts with decision-making, how creative curiosity can be captured in AI systems, how it is related to its antagonists caution and fear, and how it facilitates participatory behaviour patterns in societies.

Scientific Chairs

  • Dr. Jan Smeddinck

    Dr. Jan Smeddinck
    Newcastle University
    Digital Health
  • Prof. Katharina Rohlfing

    Prof. Dr. Katharina Rohlfing
    University of Paderborn
  • Dr. Terry Stewart

    Dr. Terry Stewart
    National Research Council of Canada
    Computational Neuroscience

The IK is hosted by the Gesellschaft für Informatik (GI, i.e., the German Society for Information Technology)

Logo Society of Computer Science
Logo Society of Computer Science

Supporting Institutions

We are proud to be supported by the Volkswagen Foundation.

Logo Volkswagen Foundation

We are also grateful for additional support by the German Society for Cognitive Science.

Logo Society of Cognitive Science
Logo Society of Cognitive Science