Recursive Metropolis-Hastings Naming Game: Symbol Emergence in a Multi-agent System based on Probabilistic Generative Models

31 May 2023  ·  Jun Inukai, Tadahiro Taniguchi, Akira Taniguchi, Yoshinobu Hagiwara ·

In the studies on symbol emergence and emergent communication in a population of agents, a computational model was employed in which agents participate in various language games. Among these, the Metropolis-Hastings naming game (MHNG) possesses a notable mathematical property: symbol emergence through MHNG is proven to be a decentralized Bayesian inference of representations shared by the agents. However, the previously proposed MHNG is limited to a two-agent scenario. This paper extends MHNG to an N-agent scenario. The main contributions of this paper are twofold: (1) we propose the recursive Metropolis-Hastings naming game (RMHNG) as an N-agent version of MHNG and demonstrate that RMHNG is an approximate Bayesian inference method for the posterior distribution over a latent variable shared by agents, similar to MHNG; and (2) we empirically evaluate the performance of RMHNG on synthetic and real image data, enabling multiple agents to develop and share a symbol system. Furthermore, we introduce two types of approximations -- one-sample and limited-length -- to reduce computational complexity while maintaining the ability to explain communication in a population of agents. The experimental findings showcased the efficacy of RMHNG as a decentralized Bayesian inference for approximating the posterior distribution concerning latent variables, which are jointly shared among agents, akin to MHNG. Moreover, the utilization of RMHNG elucidated the agents' capacity to exchange symbols. Furthermore, the study discovered that even the computationally simplified version of RMHNG could enable symbols to emerge among the agents.

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