Thursday, April 13, 2017

Half the reason for POMDP's in the literature: You can pronounce the name!

Today, I noticed a new paper in Mathematics of Operations Research, which suggests a way to combine risk-sensitivity with POMDP's without having to use only exponential utility functionsI'm bothering to write this post because the title is infuriating to me. In my opinion, the title of the paper will probably largely contribute to why it will be forgotten – only to be referenced by other papers that find it while doing their post hoc due diligence

"Partially Observable Risk-Sensitive Markov Decision Processes"
by Bäauerle and Rieder
Mathematics of Operations Research (2017), Articles in advance

The great success of POMDP as a framework used in the literature is in part because people like the name – "POM-D-P". If you're taking in a young graduate student, you can send them to the literature with a few quick words – "Go check out POMDP's". 

But what am I going to do with PORSMDP? "Poor-Sim-Dop"? "Po-Rism-Dip"? Even if one of those managed to roll of off the tongue, the relationship to POMDP wouldn't be obvious.

Why didn't anyone in the chain of custody of this manuscript suggest putting "Risk-Sensitive" up front, as in RSPOMDP (R-S-POM-D-P)? Or maybe at the end, as in POMDPRS ("POM-DiPpeRS")? The latter suggestion not only is memorable, but it sounds delicious.

Just some food for thought.