Towards a Unifying Framework for Formal Theories of Novelty

T. E. Boult, P. A. Grabowicz, D. S. Prijatelj, R. Stern, L. Holder, J. Alspector, M. Jafarzadeh, T. Ahmad, A. R. Dhamija, C. Li, S. Cruz, A. Shrivastava, C. Vondrick, W. J. Scheirer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Managing inputs that are novel, unknown, or out-of distribution is critical as an agent moves from the lab to the open world. Novelty-related problems include being tolerant to novel perturbations of the normal input, detecting when the input includes novel items, and adapting to novel inputs. While significant research has been undertaken in these areas, a noticeable gap exists in the lack of a formalized definition of novelty that transcends problem domains. As a team of researches panning multiple research groups and different domains, we have seen, first hand, the difficulties that arise from ill-specified novelty problems, as well as inconsistent definitions and terminology. Therefore, we present the first unified framework for formal theories of novelty and use the framework to formally define a family of novelty types. Our framework can be applied across a wide range of domains, from symbolic AI to reinforcement learning, and beyond to open world image recognition. Thus, it can be used to help kick-start new research efforts and accelerate ongoing work
on these important novelty-related problems.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication35th Conference on Artificial Intelligence, AAAI 2021
PublisherAssociation for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781713835974
StatePublished - 18 May 2021
Event35th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, AAAI 2021 - Virtual, Online
Duration: 2 Feb 20219 Feb 2021

Publication series

Name35th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, AAAI 2021


Conference35th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, AAAI 2021
CityVirtual, Online

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence


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