Since I’m working from decades-old memories of first inklings I thought I might peruse the web for current information about Zipf’s Law. I see there is now something called the Zipf–Mandelbrot (and sometimes –Pareto) Law and that was interesting because my wife Susan Awbrey made use of Mandelbrot’s ideas about self-similarity in her dissertation and communicated with him about it. So there’s more to read up on …
Just off-hand, though, I think my Learner is dealing with a different problem. It has more to do with the savings in effort a learner gets by anticipating future experiences based on its record of past experiences than the savings it gets by minimizing bits of storage as far as mechanically possible. There is still a type of compression involved but it’s more like Korzybski’s “time-binding” than space-savings proper. Speaking of old memories …
The other difference I see is that Zipf’s Law applies to an established and preferably large corpus of linguistic material, while my Learner has to start from scratch, accumulating experience over time, making the best of whatever data it has at the outset and every moment thereafter.
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