Re: "Supergoal" considered harmful

From: Peter de Blanc (
Date: Sun Jul 17 2005 - 09:12:20 MDT

On Sun, 2005-07-17 at 06:22 -0700, William Chapin wrote:
> How are 'utility function' and 'Super Goal'
> incompatible? My analogy: Utility function - balance
> my checkbook and work out a budget to achieve Super
> Goal - save up for that [insert favorite diversion here].

'Balance my checkbook' is not a utility function. A utility function
would be something like:

f(W) = 1 if my checkbook is balanced in W, 0 if my checkbook is not
balanced in W,

where W is a member of the set of all possible universes.

Another example of a utility function is the board evaluation function
used in a Chess program. You're probably very familiar with it already,
but in case you're not, look for a simple Chess program which uses the
minimax algorithm. I suspect most CS students have had to code one at
some point. An RPOP is something very similar in spirit to this kind of
Chess program, but with more powerful inference.

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