Date: Mon Jul 18 22:27:53 2005

Title: Teaching Learners that can only Perform Restricted Mind Changes

Authors: Frank J. Balbach and Thomas Zeugmann


  • First name: Thomas
  • Last name: Zeugmann
  • Address: Division of Computer Science, Hokkaido University, N-14, W-9, Sapporo 060-0814, Japan
  • Email:

Abstract. Within algorithmic learning theory teaching has been studied in various ways. In a common variant the teacher has to teach all learners that are restricted to output only consistent hypotheses. The complexity of teaching is then measured by the maximum number of mistakes a consistent learner can make until successful learning. This is equivalent to the so-called teaching dimension. However, many interesting concept classes have an exponential teaching dimension and it is only meaningful to consider the teachability of finite concept classes.

A refined approach of teaching is proposed by introducing a neighborhood relation over all possible hypotheses. The learners are then restricted to choose a new hypothesis from the neighborhood of their current one. Teachers are either required to teach finitely or in the limit. Moreover, the variant that the teacher receives the current hypothesis of the learner as feedback is considered.

The new models are compared to existing ones and to one another in dependence of the neighborhood relations given.

In particular, it is shown that feedback can be very helpful. Moreover, within the new model one can also study the teachability of infinite concept classes with potentially infinite concepts such as languages. Finally, it is shown that in our model teachability and learnability can be rather different.

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