From ACM TechNews:
Human Memory, Computer Memory, and Memento
(06/05/12) Steven Cherry
University of Michigan professor John Laird describes the state, operator, and result (Soar) cognitive architecture as an artificial intelligence system that functions like a brain to solve problems. He says all matching rules fire in parallel in Soar, while selecting the next operator is the locus of decision making. "What we're trying to do in Soar is combine lots of rules at the same time, so when it's in a given situation, many rules will match, and instead of picking one, it will fire all of them, and instead of those doing actions, say, in the world, instead what they're doing, the first phase of that, is proposing separate actions," Laird notes. He says more memories have been added to Soar so that it can not only analyze rules to ascertain the next course of action, but also access these other memories that supply additional data about what to do next. Laird points out that a key element of Soar's problem-solving capability is a framework for episodic memory, a vital component of human-level cognition. He speculates that at some point the same type of task-specific or domain-specific knowledge included in IBM's Watson supercomputer will need to be incorporated into Soar.