A Development Environment for Computational Modelling
in Cognitive Science and Cognitive Neuroscience
EPSRC Project GR/L03637
Summary Final Report
Dr. R. Cooper
Prof. J. Fox &
Prof. T. Shallice
Dr. D. Sutton &
Dr. P. Yule
The project was primarily concerned with the development, testing, and
dissemination of COGENT, an object-oriented graphical environment for the
implementation, evaluation and development of cognitive models. COGENT is now
a reality. Over 350 copies of the software have been downloaded from our web
site in the last 12 months, and it is being used as a teaching tool in several
institutions across Europe. The original proposal listed four objectives:
- To develop a graphical environment for the computational modelling of cognitive processes;
- To develop a formal language corresponding to "box/arrow" diagrams as used in cognitive theorising;
- To demonstrate the utility of the environment by implementing two substantial computational models;
- To establish a user community for the environment
Three of the objectives were achieved in full, and significant progress was made on the fourth:
- Unix and Windows versions of the COGENT modelling environment were developed. These are now both available from our website (http://cogent.psyc.bbk.ac.uk).
- COGENT's model execution engine was specified informally, and this informal specification was used to re-engineer the software. However, the informal specification was not developed into a formal language for "box/arrow" diagrams as it was felt that this would not be of significant benefit to cognitive scientists working with the software.
- A range of models have been implemented within the environment, including models of human problem solving, reasoning, action selection, and memory. The primary effort was directed toward an extensive research programme on decision making under uncertainty. This led to genuine theoretical developments within decision making.
- A user community was established through annual workshops, tutorials at European and US conferences, and effective use of the web. Our website currently attracts visits from over 800 distinct hosts per month. COGENT has had great success as a teaching tool. Several institutions, primarily in the UK and continental Europe, are using the system to teach cognitive modelling and further tutorials on the system are scheduled.
Future work will address three additional issues of scientific importance
that arose during the course of the project. These relate to the methodology
of cognitive modelling (and the use of coupled computational/laboratory
research programmes), the cognitive processes underlying decision making under
uncertainty (and the contribution of processing factors to decision making
biases), and the generality of COGENT as a simulation tool (and the
application of COGENT to domains as diverse as biological simulation and
simulation of social cognition).
This project was funded by the EPSRC.
© The COGENT Group, 1999