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portrait of Dr Esther Mondragon

Dr Esther Mondragon

Lecturer in Artificial Intelligence

School of Mathematics, Computer Science and Engineering, Department of Computer Science

Contact Information

Contact

Visit Esther Mondragon

A309G, College Building

Postal Address

City, University of London
Northampton Square
London
EC1V 0HB
United Kingdom

About

Overview

I am a computational cognitive neuroscientist, working primarily in biological-based AI and, more in particular, in developing reinforcement learning models of the brain and on how such models can be applied to build AI technology and solve AI problems.
I am a member of CitAI, the Artificial Intelligence Research Centre at City, and the Director of the cutting-edge MSc in Artificial Intelligence.
I am interested in learning processes, with emphasis on fundamental mechanisms shared across species and as applied to the development of AI algorithms and architectures. The theoretical core of my research is based on associative learning, a genuinely interdisciplinary framework able to offer new insights into a variety of topics, from neural connectivity to machine learning. My training as an experimental psychologist with near 15 years of experience in behavioural neuroscience allows me to synthesise natural and artificial approaches to cognition.

Currently my research is centred on using deep learning architectures and techniques to model associative learning as introduced in Mondragón, Alonso, & Kokkola (2017).

At City, University of London I have supervised to completion two PhD students: André Luzardo (The Rescorla-Wagner Drift-Diffusion Model, Oct 2017) and Niklas Kokkola (A Double-Error Correction Computational Model of Learning, Nov. 2017).

Starting May 2019, I am supervising Esther Mulwa (Building and Associative Model using Deep Neural Architectures).

New PhD students are welcome!

I direct the Centre for Computational and Animal Learning Research that aims at encouraging interdisciplinary research in learning and cognition by strengthening collaboration between learning theorists, biologists, neuroscientists, cognitive scientists, mathematicians, software developers and computer scientists.

Qualifications

  1. BSc, MSc, PhD Psychology, University of the Basque Country, Spain

Administrative role

  1. Senior Tutor for Research (STR) for Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Department of Computer Science

Memberships of professional organisations

  1. Senior member, The Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and the Simulation of Behaviour (AISB).

Research Students

Esther Mulwa

Attendance: 2019 – present

Thesis title: Building an Associative Model Using Deep Learning

Role: 2nd Supervisor

André Luzardo

Attendance: 2014 – 2017

Thesis title: The Rescorla-Wagner Drift-Diffusion Model

Role: External Supervisor

Niklas Kokkola

Attendance: 2013 – 2017

Thesis title: A Double-Error Correction Computational Model of Learning

Role: External Supervisor

Publications

  1. Kokkola, N.H., Mondragón, E. and Alonso, E. (2019). A double error dynamic asymptote model of associative learning. Psychological Review, 126(4), pp. 506–549. doi:10.1037/rev0000147.
  2. Mondragón, E., Alonso, E. and Kokkola, N. (2017). Associative Learning Should Go Deep. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 21(11), pp. 822–825. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2017.06.001.
  3. Luzardo, A., Alonso, E. and Mondragón, E. (2017). A Rescorla-Wagner drift-diffusion model of conditioning and timing. PLoS Computational Biology, 13(11). doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1005796.
  4. Murphy, R.A., Mondragon, E. and Murphy, V.A. (2009). Covariation, Structure and Generalization: Building Blocks of Causal Cognition. International Journal of Comparative Psychology, 22(1), pp. 61–61.

Book

  1. Alonso, E. and Mondragón, E. (2010). Computational neuroscience for advancing artificial intelligence: Models, methods and applications. ISBN 978-1-60960-021-1.

Chapters (7)

  1. Bonardi, C., Cheung, T.H.C., Mondragón, E. and Tam, S.K.E. (2015). Timing and Conditioning, Theoretical Issues. The Wiley Handbook on the Cognitive Neuroscience of Learning (pp. 348–379). ISBN 978-1-118-65094-3.
  2. Alonso, E. and Mondragón, E. (2010). Preface. ISBN 978-1-60960-021-1.
  3. Jennings, D.J., Alonso, E., Mondragón, E. and Bonardi, C. (2010). Temporal uncertainty during overshadowing: A temporal difference account. Computational Neuroscience for Advancing Artificial Intelligence: Models, Methods and Applications (pp. 46–55). ISBN 978-1-60960-021-1.
  4. Alonso, E. and Mondragón, E. (2010). Computational models of learning and beyond: Symmetries of associative learning. Computational Neuroscience for Advancing Artificial Intelligence: Models, Methods and Applications (pp. 316–332). ISBN 978-1-60960-021-1.
  5. Alonso, E. and Mondragon, E. (2007). Associative learning and behaviour: An algebraic search for psychological symmetries. In Aurnague, M., Korta, K. and Larrazabal, J.M. (Eds.), Language, Representation and Reasoning (pp. 35–35). Leioa, Spain: UPV-EHU Press.
  6. Alonso, E. and Mondragon, E. (2004). Agency, Learning and Animal-Based Reinforcement Learning. In Nickles, M., Rovatsos, M. and Weiss, G. (Eds.), Agents and Computational Autonomy: Potential, Risks, and Solutions (pp. 1–1). Berlin: Springer-Verlag.
  7. Hall, G. and Mondragon, E. (1998). Contextual control as Occasion Setting. In Schmajuk, N.A. and Holland, P.C. (Eds.), Occasion Setting: Associative learning and cognition in animals (pp. 199–199). Washington DC: American Psychological Association.

Conference papers and proceedings (8)

  1. Alonso, E. and Mondragón, E. (2014). Quantum probability in operant conditioning: Behavioral uncertainty in reinforcement learning.
  2. Alonso, E., Sahota, P. and Mondragón, E. (2014). Computational models of classical conditioning: A qualitative evaluation and comparison.
  3. Alonso, E. and Mondragón, E. (2013). Associative reinforcement learning: A proposal to build truly adaptive agents and multi-agent systems.
  4. Alonso, E., Mondragón, E. and Kjäll-Ohlsson, N. (2012). Internally driven Q-learning: Convergence and generalization results.
  5. Alonso, E. and Mondragón, E. (2012). Uses, abuses and misuses of computational models in classical conditioning.
  6. Alonso, E., Fairbank, M. and Mondragón, E. (2012). Conditioning for least action.
  7. Alonso, E., Mondragón, E. and Kjäll-Ohlsson, N. (2006). Pavlovian and Instrumental Q-learning: A Rescorla-Wagner-based approach to generalization in Q-learning.
  8. Alonso, E. and Mondragón, E. (2004). Agency, learning and animal-based reinforcement learning.

Journal articles (16)

  1. Mondragón, E. and Hall, G. (2015). Analysis of the role of stimulus comparison in discrimination learning in Pigeons. Learning and Motivation, 49, pp. 14–22. doi:10.1016/j.lmot.2015.01.003.
  2. Alonso, E., Fairbank, M. and Mondragón, E. (2015). Back to optimality: a formal framework to express the dynamics of learning optimal behavior. Adaptive Behavior, 23(4), pp. 206–215. doi:10.1177/1059712315589355.
  3. Bonardi, C., Mondragón, E., Brilot, B. and Jennings, D.J. (2015). Overshadowing by fixed- and variable-duration stimuli. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 68(3), pp. 523–542. doi:10.1080/17470218.2014.960875.
  4. Mondragón, E., Gray, J., Alonso, E., Bonardi, C. and Jennings, D.J. (2014). SSCC TD: A Serial and Simultaneous Configural-cue compound stimuli representation for Temporal Difference learning. PLoS ONE, 9(7). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0102469.
  5. Alonso, E. and Mondragón, E. (2014). What Have Computational Models Ever Done for Us?: A Case Study in Classical Conditioning. International Journal of Artificial Life Research (IJALR), 4(1), pp. 1–12.
  6. Jennings, D.J., Alonso, E., Mondragón, E., Franssen, M. and Bonardi, C. (2013). The effect of stimulus distribution form on the acquisition and rate of conditioned responding: Implications for theory. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 39(3), pp. 233–248. doi:10.1037/a0032151.
  7. Mondragón, E., Alonso, E., Fernández, A. and Gray, J. (2013). An extension of the Rescorla and Wagner Simulator for context conditioning. Computer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine, 110(2), pp. 226–230. doi:10.1016/j.cmpb.2013.01.016.
  8. Mondragón, E., Gray, J. and Alonso, E. (2013). A complete serial compound temporal difference simulator for compound stimuli, configural cues and context representation. Neuroinformatics, 11(2), pp. 259–261. doi:10.1007/s12021-012-9172-z.
  9. Alonso, E., Mondragón, E. and Fernández, A. (2012). A Java simulator of Rescorla and Wagner's prediction error model and configural cue extensions. Computer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine, 108(1), pp. 346–355. doi:10.1016/j.cmpb.2012.02.004.
  10. Murphy, R.A., Schmeer, S., Vallée-Tourangeau, F., Mondragón, E. and Hilton, D. (2011). Making the illusory correlation effect appear and then disappear: The effects of increased learning. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 64(1), pp. 24–40. doi:10.1080/17470218.2010.493615.
  11. Mondragón, E. and Murphy, R.A. (2010). Perceptual learning in an appetitive Pavlovian procedure: Analysis of the effectiveness of the common element. Behavioural Processes, 83(3), pp. 247–256. doi:10.1016/j.beproc.2009.12.007.
  12. Mondragón, E., Murphy, R.A. and Murphy, V.A. (2009). Rats do learn XYX rules. Animal Behaviour, 78(4). doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2009.07.013.
  13. Murphy, R.A., Mondragón, E. and Murphy, V.A. (2008). Rule learning by rats. Science, 319(5871), pp. 1849–1851. doi:10.1126/science.1151564.
  14. Murphy, R.A., Mondragón, E., Murphy, V.A. and Fouquet, N. (2004). Serial order of conditional stimuli as a discriminative cue for Pavlovian conditioning. Behavioural processes, 67(2), pp. 303–311. doi:10.1016/j.beproc.2004.05.003.
  15. Mondragón, E., Bonardi, C. and Hall, G. (2003). Negative priming and occasion setting in an appetitive Pavlovian procedure. Learning and Behavior, 31(3), pp. 281–291. doi:10.3758/bf03195989.
  16. Mondragón, E. and Hall, G. (2002). Analysis of the perceptual learning effect in flavour aversion learning: Evidence for stimulus differentiation. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology Section B: Comparative and Physiological Psychology, 55(2), pp. 153–169. doi:10.1080/02724990143000225.

Report

  1. Mondragon, E. and Alonso, E. (2016). Hall and Rodríguez model as a particular case of the Pearce and Hall model: A formal analysis. Centre for Computational and Animal Learning Research.

Software (11)

  1. Chung, B., Mondragon, E. and Alonso, E. (2018). Rescorla & Wagner Simulator+ © Ver. 5. St. Albans, UK: Centre for Computational and Animal Learning Research (CAL-R).
  2. Kokkola, N., Mondragon, E. and Alonso, E. (2018). DOUBLE ERROR DYNAMIC ASYMPTOTE MODEL SIMULATOR. St. Albans, UK: Centre for Computational and Animal Learning Research (CAL-R).
  3. Anandasivathas, T., Mondragon, E. and Alonso, E. (2017). Harris Model Simulator. St. Albans, UK: Centre for Computational and Animal Learning Research (CAL-R).
  4. Byers, J., Mondragon, E. and Alonso, E. (2017). SOP Model Simulator. St. Albans, UK: Centre for Computational and Animal Learning Research (CAL-R).
  5. Gheorghescu, A., Mondragon, E. and Alonso, E. (2017). PEARCE MODEL SIMULATOR ver. 1. St. Albans, UK: Centre for Computational and Animal Learning Research (CAL-R).
  6. Ghorashi, A., Mondragon, E. and Alonso, E. (2017). REPLACED ELEMENTS MODEL - REM SIMULATOR v.1. St. Albans, UK: Centre for Computational and Animal Learning Research (CAL-R).
  7. Grikietis, R., Mondragon, E. and Alonso, E. (2016). PEARCE & HALL MODEL SIMULATOR. St. Albans, UK: Centre for Computational and Animal Learning Research (CAL-R).
  8. Alexandrakis, D., Mondragon, E. and Alonso, E. (2015). RESCORLA & WAGNER SIMULATOR FOR ANDROID V.1. St. Albans, UK: Centre for Computational and Animal Learning Research (CAL-R).
  9. Gray, J., Mondragon, E. and Alonso, E. (2013). SSCC TD MODEL SIMULATOR ver. 1.0. St. Albans, UK: Centre for Computational and Animal Learning Research (CAL-R).
  10. Mondragon, E., Gray, J. and Alonso, E. (2012). TEMPORAL DIFFERENCE MODEL SIMULATOR ver. 1.0. St. Albans, UK: Centre for Computational and Animal Learning Research (CAL-R).
  11. Mondragon, E., Alonso, E., Fernandez, A. and Gray, J. (2012). RESCORLA & WAGNER MODEL SIMULATOR. St. Albans, UK: Centre for Computational and Animal Learning Research (CAL-R).

Other Activities

Other (14)

  1. • Reviewer of grant proposals for the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSR)..
  2. • Ad hoc reviewer for Cognitive Science.
  3. • Ad hoc reviewer for Scientific Reports – Nature.
  4. • Ad hoc reviewer for PLOS ONE.
  5. • Ad hoc reviewer for Psychological Review.
  6. • Ad hoc reviewer for Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition.
  7. • Ad hoc reviewer for Behavior Research Methods.
  8. • Ad hoc reviewer for Bulletin of Mathematical Biology.
  9. • Ad hoc reviewer for The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.
  10. • Ad hoc reviewer for Learning & Behavior.
  11. • Ad hoc reviewer for Animal Cognition.
  12. • Ad hoc reviewer for Psicológica.
  13. • Ad hoc reviewer for Open Journal of Experimental Psychology and Neuroscience.
  14. • Reviewer of grant proposals for the US National Science Foundation (NSF).