# Problem solving algorithm

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Created: June 23, 2017 / Updated: July 4, 2018 / Status: in progress / 2 min read (~359 words)

### Things to explore

• How do "non-intelligent" agents solve their problems?
• Can one solve problems without being aware of them?
• Can one solve problems if they don't understand them?
• Let say you are an agent in a given environment and you want to solve problems, what components would you need to do so?

## Overview

• Two types of problems:

• Ill-defined: No clear goals, solutions path, or expected solution
• Well-defined: Specific goals, clearly defined solution paths, and clear expected solutions
• Observe a problem
• Determine the causes of the problem
• Generate potential solutions
• Test solutions
• Evaluate and record results
• Iterate

## IDEAL

• Identify the problem
• Define the context of the problem
• Explore possible strategies
• Act on best solution
• Look back and learn

• Plan
• Do
• Check/Study
• Act

## Alternative

• How does one recognize which micro tasks are necessary? (seems to be based on prior experience)
• Determine constraints (what needs to be done before something else can be done or what can't be done)

## Requirements

• Language: A way to temporarily represent objects/entities and states in order to manipulate them
• Causality decorrelation: The ability to extract the "true" causes and effects relations (what implies what).
• Memory: To store prior experiments and their results. Memories are then reused in order to predict actions-effects (causality) when mentally manipulating models, which should be more energy efficient (and reproducible) than executing the action again.
• The ability to simulate a sequence of action-effect

## Evolution of problem solving with age

• Reflexes
• Random discovery (trial and error)
• Understanding of causality
• Pattern recognition
• Reuse of developed algorithms
• Learning from others
• Fine-tuning of acquired skills

## Level of abstraction by age

• Equation with numbers and missing total
• Variable manipulation
• Spatial reasoning
• Problem recognition and application of the proper tools to solve them problem