Dynamic blackboard memory

The Blackboard class holds the central data repository of the platform. It stores the knowledge sources and any shared data, in particular the output of the knowledge sources (e.g. estimates of the location of a sound source). It is accessible to all knowledge sources; and it not only stores current data, but keeps track of the history of this data in order to enable knowledge sources to work on time series data.

Importantly, the Blackboard is flexible about data categories, which do not have to be hard-coded into the system. Knowledge sources decide on their own and at runtime what to add and what to request. Thus, the system does not need to be changed in order to implement new knowledge sources that work with new data categories. Of course, knowledge sources can only read data categories that are actually stored in the blackboard by other knowledge sources (or themselves).

The following listing shows an excerpt of the Blackboard interface:

class Blackboard
        addData( dataLabel, data, append, time )
        getData( dataLabel, reqSndTime )
        getLastData( dataLabel, time )
        getNextData( dataLabel, time )
        getDataBlock( dataLabel, blockSize_s )

Prominently featured are methods to add and access data:

lets knowledge sources add data to the blackboard storage. The data category has to be named in dataLabel, data hands over the actual data to store. append is an optional flag indicating whether to overwrite or append data at the same time step (there might, for example, be several source identity hypotheses per time step, but only one source number hypothesis might be allowed). time specifies the time point under which this data shall be stored. It is optional and, if not set, defaults to the current time.
lets knowledge sources read data from the blackboard storage. dataLabel indicates the data category requested, reqSndTime the time point of interest. getLastData, getNextData and getDataBlock are special cases of getData for retrieving the last data, the next data after a particular point in time, or a whole data block of length blockSize_s.

The following is an example from the implementation of the IdDecisionKS class:

idHyps = obj.blackboard.getData( ...
             'identityHypotheses', obj.trigger.tmIdx ).data;
%find the most likely identity hypothesis -> maxProbHyp
obj.blackboard.addData( ...
    'identityDecision', maxProbHyp, false, obj.trigger.tmIdx );

Let us assume that we have an instantiation called bbs of the Blackboard system. Now we would like to see the currently available data in its memory. For that you can run:

>> bbs.blackboard.getDataLabels()

or specify explicitly a time for which you would like to see the available data:

>> bbs.blackboard.getDataLabels(bbs.blackboard.currentSoundTimeIdx-1)

Additionally, the blackboard is used as a storage for pointers to signals from the Auditory front-end requested by knowledge sources inheriting from AuditoryFrontEndDepKS. The actual memory in which these signals are stored for recall is implemented in the Auditory front-end through circular buffers.