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Learning first-order probabilistic models with combining rules

TitleLearning first-order probabilistic models with combining rules
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsNatarajan, S., P. Tadepalli, T. G. Dietterich, and A. Fern
JournalAnnals of Mathematics and Artificial Intelligence
Pagination223 - 256
Date Published11/2008

Many real-world domains exhibit rich relational structure and stochasticity and motivate the development of models that combine predicate logic with probabilities. These models describe probabilistic influences between attributes of objects that are related to each other through known domain relationships. To keep these models succinct, each such influence is considered independent of others, which is called the assumption of "independence of causal influences" (ICI). In this paper, we describe a language that consists of quantified conditional influence statements and captures most relational probabilistic models based on directed graphs. The influences due to different statements are combined using a set of combining rules such as Noisy-OR. We motivate and introduce multi-level combining rules, where the lower level rules combine the influences due to different ground instances of the same statement, and the upper level rules combine the influences due to different statements. We present algorithms and empirical results for parameter learning in the presence of such combining rules. Specifically, we derive and implement algorithms based on gradient descent and expectation maximization for different combining rules and evaluate them on synthetic data and on a real-world task. The results demonstrate that the algorithms are able to learn both the conditional probability distributions of the influence statements and the parameters of the combining rules.

Short TitleAnn Math Artif Intell