Abduction, of inference to the best explanation, is a form of inference that goes from data describing something to a hypothesis that best explains or accounts for the data.
D is a collection of data (facts, observations, givens).
H explains D (would, if true, explain D).
No other hypothesis can explain D as well as H does.
... Therefore, H is probably true.
– Josephson & Josephson, Abductive Inference
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The work described in my Ph.D. dissertation (Fischer 1991) It is the outcome of seven years of research focusing on abductive explanation generation and involving the departments of computer and information science, industrial and systems engineering, pathology, and allied medical professions at The Ohio State University. In the first phase of my work, I characterized abductive problem solving and performed a comparative analysis of two abductive problem solvers (Smith and Fischer 1990). Thus, I implemented two cognitively plausible heuristics to tackle the complexity of abductive reasoning and successfully experimented with them. This work, originally applied to the domain of alloantibody identification, was generalized to domain-independent abductive problem solving. Abduction, that is, inference to a hypothesis that best explains a set of data, appears to be ubiquitous in cognition.
There are however, a variety of different approaches that claim to capture the true nature of this concept. One reason for this diversity lies in the fact that abductive reasoning occurs in a multitude of contexts. It concerns cases that cover the simplest selection of already existing hypotheses to the generation of new concepts in science. It also concerns cases where the observation is puzzling because it is novel versus cases in which the surprise concerns an anomalous observation. For example, if we wake up, and the lawn is wet, we might explain this observation by assuming that it must have rained or that the sprinklers have been on.
Time series interpretation aims to provide an explanation of what is observed in terms of its underlying processes. The present work is based on the assumption that common classification-based approaches to time series interpretation suffer from a set of inherent weaknesses whose ultimate cause lies in the monotonic nature of the deductive reasoning paradigm. In this document we propose a new approach to this problem based on the initial hypothesis that abductive reasoning properly accounts for the human ability to identify and characterize patterns appearing in a time series. The result of the interpretation is a set of conjectures in the form of observations, organized into an abstraction hierarchy, and explaining what has been observed. A knowledge-based framework and a set of algorithms for the interpretation task are provided, implementing a hypothesize-and-test cycle guided by an attentional mechanism. As a representative application domain, the interpretation of the electrocardiogram allows us to highlight the strengths of the proposed approach in comparison with traditional classification-based approaches.
Increasingly, scientific breakthroughs will be powered by advanced computing capabilities that help researchers manipulate and explore massive datasets. The speed at which any given scientific discipline advances will depend on how well its researchers collaborate with one another, and with technologists, in areas of eScience such as databases, workflow management, visualization, and cloud computing technologies. In The Fourth Paradigm: Data-Intensive Scientific Discovery, the collection of essays expands on the vision of pioneering computer scientist Jim Gray for a new, fourth paradigm of discovery based on data-intensive science and offers insights into how it can be fully realized. "The individual essays--and The Fourth Paradigm as a whole--give readers a glimpse of the horizon for 21st-century research and, at their best, a peek at what lies beyond. "The impact of Jim Gray's thinking is continuing to get people to think in a new way about how data and software are redefining what it means to do science."
Causality has been recently introduced in databases, to model, characterize, and possibly compute causes for query answers. Connections between QA-causality and consistency-based diagnosis and database repairs (wrt. integrity constraint violations) have already been established. In this work we establish precise connections between QA-causality and both abductive diagnosis and the view-update problem in databases, allowing us to obtain new algorithmic and complexity results for QA-causality. We also obtain new results on the complexity of view-conditioned causality, and investigate the notion of QA-causality in the presence of integrity constraints, obtaining complexity results from a connection with view-conditioned causality. The abduction connection under integrity constraints allows us to obtain algorithmic tools for QA-causality.
Recent advances in technology for abductive reasoning, or inference to the best explanation, encourage the application of abduction to real-life commonsense reasoning problems. This paper describes Etcetera Abduction, a new implementation of logical abduction that is both grounded in probability theory and optimized using contemporary linear programming solvers. We present a Weighted Max-SAT formulation of Etcetera Abduction, which allows us to exploit highly advanced technologies developed in the field of SAT and Operations Research. Our experiments demonstrate the scalability of our proposal on a large-scale synthetic benchmark that contains up to ten thousand axioms, using one of the state-of-the-art mathematical optimizers developed in these fields. This is the first work to evaluate a SAT-based approach to abductive reasoning at this scale. The inference engine we developed has been made publicly available.
Today in Entertainment: Seth Meyers finds a new law of Trump physics; Jonathan Demme brought out performers' best Here's what's new and interesting in entertainment and the arts: The science on the Trump administration is a little closer to settled. "Late Night with Seth Meyers" offered a deep dive Wednesday night into the administration's apparent fondness for executive orders -- the president has signed 30 so far -- and highlighted how Trump the candidate was less enamored of the practice than Trump the president appears to be. "It is at this point like a law of physics," Meyers said at the beginning of one of his "A Closer Look" segments. Putting the comedy in some context: Presidents Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama averaged 45.5, 36.4 and 34.5 executive orders per year, respectively, over their eight years each in office, according to the American Presidency Project at UCSB.