A cognitive architecture is a blueprint for intelligent agents. It proposes (artificial) computational processes that act like certain cognitive systems, most often, like a person, or acts intelligent under some definition. Cognitive architectures form a subset of general agent architectures. The term ‘architecture’ implies an approach that attempts to model not only behavior, but also structural properties of the modelled system. These need not be physical properties: they can be properties of virtual machines implemented in physical machines (e.g. brains or computers).

Common researchers on cognitive architectures is the belief that understanding (human, animal or machine) cognitive processes means being able to implement them in a working system, though opinions differ as to what form such a system can have: some researchers assume that it will necessarily be a computational system whereas others argue for alternative models such as dynamical systems.

Cognitive architectures can be symbolic, connectionist, or hybrid. Some cognitive architectures or models are based on a set of generic rules, as, e.g., the Information Processing Language (e.g., Soar based on the unified theory of cognition, or similarly ACT). Many of these architectures are based on the-mind-is-like-a-computer analogy. In contrast subsymbolic processing specifies no such rules a priori and relies on emergent properties of processing units (e.g. nodes). Hybrid architectures combine both types of processing (such as CLARION).

Connectionism is a set of approaches in the fields of artificial intelligence, cognitive psychology, cognitive science, neuroscience and philosophy of mind, that models mental or behavioral phenomena as the emergent processes of interconnected networks of simple units. There are many forms of connectionism, but the most common forms use neural network models.

The central connectionist principle is that mental phenomena can be described by interconnected networks of simple and often uniform units.  Neural networks are by far the most commonly used connectionist model today, but there are some more generic approaches, too.

Is the Symbolic atomistic model (SAM) a cognitive architecture?

Hybrid Cognitive Architecture (Laitila)

Hybrid Cognitive Architecture (Laitila)

The SAM-principle, presented in this blog, is a hybrid cognitive architecture, which contains both the symbolic and connectionist approach.  There is a paper published about it at the Conference of  Hybrid Artificial Intelligence Systems (Burgos Spain, 2008).

Some links: