Contact

Priv.-Doz. Dr. Dr. Daniel Braun

Address: Spemannstr. 38
72076 Tübingen
Room number: 006
Phone: +49 7071 601 618
Fax: +49 7071 601 616
E-Mail: daniel.braun

 

Picture of Braun, Daniel, Priv.-Doz. Dr. Dr.

Daniel Braun

Position: Research Group Leader  Unit: Braun

One of the most striking features that sets human motor control apart from its robotic counterparts is the remarkable adaptability that allows us to cope with a vast range of complex and variable environments. The research goal of our group is to investigate the computational and biological principles underlying this unrivalled adaptability both experimentally and theoretically. In behavioural experiments, virtual reality technology allows us to expose human subjects to diverse, novel and possibly complex environments. Our aim is to study how the human motor system exploits the structure and the causal dependencies in such environments to enhance adaptation and to integrate information for action. These experimental studies are backed up by theoretical investigations of normative principles for adaptive control to explain the observed behaviours under special consideration of the bounded resources of the actors.


The interests of the research group can be broken down into three sub-projects:

 

(A) Structural learning and causal inference in motor control

 

In our previous studies we have provided first evidence for structural learning processes in human motor control, as we could show that the motor system extracts (abstract) invariants when faced with a range of variable environments that share certain structural features. However, many questions remain open that still need to be addressed, including the basic experimental protocol. In particular, more quantitative experiments are needed to understand the computational principles behind structural motor learning. This also requires the development of computational models that allow for quantitative predictions of structural learning and causal inference in human motor control.

 

(B) Neuro-economical principles in motor control and learning

 

In our previous studies we have investigated the effects of risk-sensitivity and two-player interaction on motor control. We could show that risk-sensitive subjects are not only evaluating the expected value of a movement, but also consider second-order moments of the uncertainty and act either optimistically (risk-seeking) or pessimistically (risk-aversive) with respect to this risk. In a set of two-player motor interaction experiments, we could show that subjects’ motor behavior naturally converged to so-called Nash solutions that describe rational strategies in game theory. Both risk and the presence of another actor are important neuroeconomic constraints both experimentally and in normative models of acting. However, important open questions remain about how uncertainty over different structures ("model uncertainty") is integrated by human subjects, how sensory uncertainty is affected by risk-attitudes and how uncertainty over different states of information in two-player interactions affects sensorimotor behaviour.

 

(C) Resource-bounded principles of adaption and control

 

In our previous studies we have developed a Bayesian rule for adaptive control based on an information-theoretic compression principle and causal calculus. We have demonstrated the applicability of the new adaptive control framework for very general problem classes such as undiscounted Markov Decision Problems, adaptive linear quadratic control problems and bandit problems. Important open problems are applications to more complex environments requiring generic non-parametric controllers, and in particular the application to environments that are themselves adaptive, which leads to game-theoretic problems. We have also worked on a generalization of the information-theoretic compression principle to describe normative behavior in agents with bounded computational resources. We explore further in how far this compression principle can be exploited in the development of efficient algorithms for learning and control.

 

Education

 

  • 2014: Habilitation, Eberhard Karls Universität, Tübingen, Germany
  • 2011: Dr. phil., Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Freiburg, Germany
  • 2008: Dr. rer. nat., Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Freiburg, Germany
  • 2005: Dipl. Biol., Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Freiburg, Germany
  • 2005: Dipl. Phys., Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Freiburg, Germany

 

Research Experience


  • from 2011: Emmy Noether Research Group Leader, Max-Planck-Institute for Biological Cybernetics & Intelligent Systems, Tübingen, Germany
  • 2010 - 2011: Visiting Scientist, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA
  • 2008 - 2010: Research Associate, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
  • 2006 - 2008: Visiting PhD Student, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
  • 2005 - 2006: PhD Student, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Freiburg, Germany

 

Honours & Awards


  • 2014: Teaching Award of the Graduate School for Neural Information Processing
  • 2011: DFG Emmy-Noether-scholarship
  • 2009: DAAD postdoctoral scholarship
  • 2009: Hans-Spemann-prize of the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
  • 2006: PhD Scholarship Böhringer-Ingelheim-Fonds

 

 

 

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Articles (34):

Grau-Moya J, Ortega PA and Braun DA (April-2016) Decision-Making under Ambiguity Is Modulated by Visual Framing, but Not by Motor vs. Non-Motor Context. Experiments and an Information-Theoretic Ambiguity Model PLoS ONE 11(4) 1-21.
Grau-Moya J, Leibfried F, Genewein T and Braun DA (April-2016) Planning with Information-Processing Constraints and Model Uncertainty in Markov Decision Processes - . submitted
Genewein T and Braun DA (March-2016) Bio-inspired feedback-circuit implementation of discrete, free energy optimizing, winner-take-all computations Biological Cybernetics Epub ahead.
Peng Z and Braun DA (December-2015) Entropic Movement Complexity Reflects Subjective Creativity Rankings of Visualized Hand Motion Trajectories Frontiers in Psychology 6(1879) 1-13.
Ortega PA and Braun DA (December-2015) What is epistemic value in free energy models of learning and acting? A bounded rationality perspective Cognitive Neuroscience 6(4) 215-216.
Genewein T, Leibfried F, Grau-Moya J and Braun DA (October-2015) Bounded rationality, abstraction and hierarchical decision-making: an information-theoretic optimality principle Frontiers in Robotics and AI 2(27) 1-24.
Leibfried F, Grau-Moya J and Braun DA (August-2015) Signaling equilibria in sensorimotor interactions Cognition 141 73-86.
Genewein T, Hez E, Razzaghpanah Z and Braun DA (August-2015) Structure Learning in Bayesian Sensorimotor Integration PLoS Computational Biology 11(8) 1-27.
Leibfried F and Braun DA (July-2015) A Reward-Maximizing Spiking Neuron as a Bounded Rational Decision Maker Neural Computation 27(8) 1686-1720.
Braun DA and Ortega PA (August-2014) Information-Theoretic Bounded Rationality and Optimality Entropy 16(8) 4662-4676.
Genewein T and Braun D (May-2014) Occam's Razor in sensorimotor learning Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 281(1783) 1-7.
Peng Z, Genewein T and Braun DA (March-2014) Assessing randomness and complexity in human motion trajectories through analysis of symbolic sequences Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 8(168) 1-13.
Ortega PA and Braun DA (March-2014) Generalized Thompson sampling for sequential decision-making and causal inference Complex Adaptive Systems Modeling 2(2) 1-23.
Braun D (October-2013) Structural learning Scholarpedia 8(10) 12312.
Grau-Moya J, Hez E, Pezzulo G and Braun DA (October-2013) The effect of model uncertainty on cooperation in sensorimotor interactions Journal of the Royal Society Interface 10(87) 1-11.
Ortega PA and Braun DA (May-2013) Thermodynamics as a theory of decision-making with information-processing costs Proceedings of the Royal Society of London A 469(2153) 1-18.
Genewein T and Braun DA (October-2012) A sensorimotor paradigm for Bayesian model selection Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 6(291) 1-16.
Grau-Moya J, Ortega PA and Braun DA (September-2012) Risk-Sensitivity in Bayesian Sensorimotor Integration PLoS Computational Biology 8(9) 1-7.
Turnham EJA, Braun DA and Wolpert DM (February-2012) Facilitation of learning induced by both random and gradual visuomotor task variation Journal of Neurophysiology 107(4) 1111-1122.
Braun DA, Ortega PA and Wolpert DM (June-2011) Motor coordination: when two have to act as one Experimental Brain Research 211(3-4) 631-641.
Braun DA, Aertsen A, Paz R, Vaadia E, Rotter S and Mehring C (June-2011) Online adaptation and over-trial learning in macaque visuomotor control Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience 5(27) 1-9.
Nagengast AJ, Braun DA and Wolpert DM (June-2011) Risk sensitivity in a motor task with speed-accuracy trade-off Journal of Neurophysiology 105(6) 2668-2674.
Turnham EJA, Braun DA and Wolpert DM (March-2011) Inferring Visuomotor Priors for Sensorimotor Learning PLoS Computational Biology 7(3) 1-13.
Nagengast AJ, Braun DA and Wolpert DM (January-2011) Risk-sensitivity and the mean-variance trade-off: decision making in sensorimotor control Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 278(1716) 2325-2332.
Braun DA, Nagengast AJ and Wolpert DM (January-2011) Risk-sensitivity in sensorimotor control Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 5(1) 1-10.
Nagengast AJ, Braun DA and Wolpert DM (July-2010) Risk-Sensitive Optimal Feedback Control Accounts for Sensorimotor Behavior under Uncertainty PLoS Computational Biology 6(7) 1-15.
Ortega PA and Braun DA (May-2010) A Minimum Relative Entropy Principle for Learning and Acting Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research 38(1) 475-511.
Braun DA, Waldert S, Aertsen A, Wolpert DM and Mehring C (January-2010) Structure Learning in a Sensorimotor Association Task PLoS ONE 5(1) 1-8.
Braun DA, Mehring C and Wolpert DM (January-2010) Structure learning in action Behavioural Brain Research 206(2) 157–165.
Braun DA, Ortega PA and Wolpert DM (August-2009) Nash Equilibria in Multi-Agent Motor Interactions PLoS Computational Biology 5(8) 1-8.
Nagengast AJ, Braun DA and Wolpert DM (June-2009) Optimal Control Predicts Human Performance on Objects with Internal Degrees of Freedom PLoS Computational Biology 5(6) 1-15.
Braun DA, Aertsen A, Wolpert DM and Mehring C (May-2009) Learning Optimal Adaptation Strategies in Unpredictable Motor Tasks Journal of Neuroscience 29(20) 6472-6478.
Braun DA, Aertsen A, Wolpert DM and Mehring C (February-2009) Motor Task Variation Induces Structural Learning Current Biology 19(4) 352-357.
Braun DA and Wolpert DM (November-2007) Optimal Control: When Redundancy Matters Current Biology 17(22) R973–R975.

Conference papers (15):

Grau-Moya J and Braun DA (December-11-2015) Adaptive information-theoretic bounded rational decision-making with parametric priors, NIPS 2015 Workshop on Bounded Optimality and Rational Metareasoning, 1-4.
Peng Z and Braun DA (August-2015) Developing neural networks with neurons competing for survival, 5th Joint IEEE International Conference on Development and Learning and on Epigenetic Robotics (IEEE ICDL-EPIROB 2015), IEEE, Piscataway, NJ, USA, 152-153.
Peng Z and Braun DA (October-2014) Curiosity-driven learning with Context Tree Weighting, 4th Joint IEEE International Conference on Development and Learning and on Epigenetic Robotics (IEEE ICDL-EPIROB 2014), IEEE, Piscataway, NJ, USA, 366-367.
Ortega PA, Braun DA and Tishby N (June-2014) Monte Carlo methods for exact & efficient solution of the generalized optimality equations, IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA 2014), IEEE, Piscataway, NJ, USA, 4322-4327.
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Genewein T and Braun DA (December-2013) Abstraction in Decision-Makers with Limited Information Processing Capabilities, NIPS 2013 Workshop Planning with Information Constraints for Control, Reinforcement Learning, Computational Neuroscience, Robotics and Games, 1-9.
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Grau-Moya J and Braun DA (December-2013) Bounded Rational Decision-Making in Changing Environments, NIPS 2013 Workshop Planning with Information Constraints for Control, Reinforcement Learning, Computational Neuroscience, Robotics and Games, 1-9.
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Ortega PA, Grau-Moya J, Genewein T, Balduzzi D and Braun DA (April-2013) A Nonparametric Conjugate Prior Distribution for the Maximizing Argument of a Noisy Function In: Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 25, , Twenty-Sixth Annual Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS 2012), Curran, Red Hook, NY, USA, 3014-3022.
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Ortega PA and Braun DA (December-2012) Adaptive Coding of Actions and Observations, NIPS 2012 Workshop on Information in Perception and Action, 1-4.
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Ortega PA and Braun DA (July-2012) Free Energy and the Generalized Optimality Equations for Sequential Decision Making, 10th European Workshop on Reinforcement Learning (EWRL 2012), 1-10.
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Ortega PA and Braun DA (August-2011) Information, utility and bounded rationality In: Artificial General Intelligence, , Fourth International Conference on Artificial General Intelligence (AGI 2011), Springer, Berlin, Germany, 269-274, Series: Lecture Notes in Computer Science ; 6830.
Ortega PA, Braun DA and Godsill S (August-2011) Reinforcement Learning and the Bayesian Control Rule In: Artificial General Intelligence, , Fourth International Conference on Artificial General Intelligence (AGI 2011), Springer, Berlin, Germany, 281-285, Series: Lecture Notes in Computer Science ; 6830.
Braun DA, Ortega PA, Theodorou E and Schaal S (April-2011) Path integral control and bounded rationality, IEEE Symposium on Adaptive Dynamic Programming And Reinforcement Learning (ADPRL 2011), IEEE, Piscataway, NJ, USA, 202-209.
Braun DA and Ortega PA (June-2010) A minimum relative entropy principle for adaptive control in linear quadratic regulators, 7th International Conference on Informatics in Control, Automation and Robotics (ICINCO 2010), SciTePress, Setúbal, Portugal, 103-108.
Ortega PA and Braun DA (March-2010) A Bayesian rule for adaptive control based on causal interventions, Third Conference on Artificial General Intelligence (AGI 2010), Atlantis Press, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 121-126.
Ortega PA and Braun DA (March-2010) A conversion between utility and information, Third Conference on Artificial General Intelligence (AGI 2010), Atlantis Press, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 115-120.

Posters (7):

Grau-Moya J, Krueger M and Braun DA (January-2015): Non-equilibrium behaviour of information-processing systems with computational constraints, Workshop on Recent Developments In Non-Equilibrium Physics "Luxembourg out of Equilibrium", Luxembourg, Luxembourg.
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Last updated: Tuesday, 18.11.2014