Collaborating Authors

Qualitative Reasoning


AAAI Conferences

We introduce a framework for qualitative reasoning about directions in high-dimensional spaces, called EER, where our main motivation is to develop a form of commonsense reasoning about semantic spaces. The proposed framework is, however, more general; we show how qualitative spatial reasoning about points with several existing calculi can be reduced to the realisability problem for EER (or REER for short), including LR and calculi for reasoning about betweenness, collinearity and parallelism. Finally, we propose an efficient but incomplete inference method, and show its effectiveness for reasoning with EER as well as reasoning with some of the aforementioned calculi.

A Generalised Approach for Encoding and Reasoning with Qualitative Theories in Answer Set Programming Artificial Intelligence

Qualitative reasoning involves expressing and deriving knowledge based on qualitative terms such as natural language expressions, rather than strict mathematical quantities. Well over 40 qualitative calculi have been proposed so far, mostly in the spatial and temporal domains, with several practical applications such as naval traffic monitoring, warehouse process optimisation and robot manipulation. Even if a number of specialised qualitative reasoning tools have been developed so far, an important barrier to the wider adoption of these tools is that only qualitative reasoning is supported natively, when real-world problems most often require a combination of qualitative and other forms of reasoning. In this work, we propose to overcome this barrier by using ASP as a unifying formalism to tackle problems that require qualitative reasoning in addition to non-qualitative reasoning. A family of ASP encodings is proposed which can handle any qualitative calculus with binary relations. These encodings are experimentally evaluated using a real-world dataset based on a case study of determining optimal coverage of telecommunication antennas, and compared with the performance of two well-known dedicated reasoners. Experimental results show that the proposed encodings outperform one of the two reasoners, but fall behind the other, an acceptable trade-off given the added benefits of handling any type of reasoning as well as the interpretability of logic programs. This paper is under consideration for acceptance in TPLP.

PIQA: Reasoning about Physical Commonsense in Natural Language Artificial Intelligence

To apply eyeshadow without a brush, should I use a cotton swab or a toothpick? Questions requiring this kind of physical commonsense pose a challenge to today's natural language understanding systems. While recent pretrained models (such as BERT) have made progress on question answering over more abstract domains - such as news articles and encyclopedia entries, where text is plentiful - in more physical domains, text is inherently limited due to reporting bias. Can AI systems learn to reliably answer physical common-sense questions without experiencing the physical world? In this paper, we introduce the task of physical commonsense reasoning and a corresponding benchmark dataset Physical Interaction: Question Answering or PIQA. Though humans find the dataset easy (95% accuracy), large pretrained models struggle (77%). We provide analysis about the dimensions of knowledge that existing models lack, which offers significant opportunities for future research.

WIQA: A dataset for "What if..." reasoning over procedural text Artificial Intelligence

We introduce WIQA, the first large-scale dataset of "What if..." questions over procedural text. WIQA contains three parts: a collection of paragraphs each describing a process, e.g., beach erosion; a set of crowdsourced influence graphs for each paragraph, describing how one change a ffects another; and a large (40k) collection of "What if...?" multiple-choice questions derived from the graphs. For example, given a paragraph about beach erosion, would stormy weather result in more or less erosion (or have no e ff ect)? The task is to answer the questions, given their associated paragraph. WIQA contains three kinds of questions: perturbations to steps mentioned in the paragraph; external (out-of-paragraph) perturbations requiring commonsense knowledge; and irrelevant (no e ff ect) perturbations. We find that state-of-the-art models achieve 73.8% accuracy, well below the human performance of 96.3%. We analyze the challenges, in particular tracking chains of influences, and present the dataset as an open challenge to the community.

QuaRTz: An Open-Domain Dataset of Qualitative Relationship Questions Artificial Intelligence

We introduce the first open-domain dataset, called QuaRTz, for reasoning about textual qualitative relationships. QuaRTz contains general qualitative statements, e.g., "A sunscreen with a higher SPF protects the skin longer.", twinned with 3864 crowdsourced situated questions, e.g., "Billy is wearing sunscreen with a lower SPF than Lucy. Who will be best protected from the sun?", plus annotations of the properties being compared. Unlike previous datasets, the general knowledge is textual and not tied to a fixed set of relationships, and tests a system's ability to comprehend and apply textual qualitative knowledge in a novel setting. We find state-of-the-art results are substantially (20%) below human performance, presenting an open challenge to the NLP community.

Proceedings of the 2nd Symposium on Problem-solving, Creativity and Spatial Reasoning in Cognitive Systems, ProSocrates 2017 Artificial Intelligence

Cognitive scientists of the embodied cognition tradition have been providing evidence that a large part of our creative reasoning and problemsolving processes are carried out by means of conceptual metaphor and blending, grounded on our bodily experience with the world. In this talk I shall aim at fleshing out a mathematical model that has been proposed in the last decades for expressing and exploring conceptual metaphor and blending with greater precision than has previously been done. In particular, I shall focus on the notion of aptness of a metaphor or blend and on the validity of metaphorical entailment. Towards this end, I shall use a generalisation of the category-theoretic notion of colimit for modelling conceptual metaphor and blending in combination with the idea of reasoning at a distance as modelled in the Barwise-Seligman theory of information flow. I shall illustrate the adequacy of the proposed model with an example of creative reasoning about space and time for solving a classical brainteaser. Furthermore, I shall argue for the potential applicability of such mathematical model for ontology engineering, computational creativity, and problem-solving in general.

Towards Explainable Inference about Object Motion using Qualitative Reasoning Artificial Intelligence

The capability of making explainable inferences regarding physical processes has long been desired. One fundamental physical process is object motion. Inferring what causes the motion of a group of objects can even be a challenging task for experts, e.g., in forensics science. Most of the work in the literature relies on physics simulation to draw such infer- ences. The simulation requires a precise model of the under- lying domain to work well and is essentially a black-box from which one can hardly obtain any useful explanation. By contrast, qualitative reasoning methods have the advan- tage in making transparent inferences with ambiguous infor- mation, which makes it suitable for this task. However, there has been no suitable qualitative theory proposed for object motion in three-dimensional space. In this paper, we take this challenge and develop a qualitative theory for the motion of rigid objects. Based on this theory, we develop a reasoning method to solve a very interesting problem: Assuming there are several objects that were initially at rest and now have started to move. We want to infer what action causes the movement of these objects.

Qualitative Reasoning about Physical Systems with Multiple Perspective

AI Magazine

It was motivated by two observations regarding modeling in general and work in qualitative physics in particular. First, all modelbased reasoning is only as good as the model used (Davis and Hamscher 1988). Second, no single model is adequate or appropriate for a wide range of tasks (Weld 1989). A model of a real-world system is but an abstraction of some aspects of the system. To formulate a model of a physical system for a given task, we inevitably take certain perspectives of the system to capture proper scenarios by deciding what to describe and what to ignore (Hobbs 1985).

Special Issue on Innovative Applications of AI

AI Magazine

IAAI is the premier venue for learning about AI's impact through deployed applications and emerging AI technologies. Case studies of deployed applications with measurable benefits arising from the use of AI technology provide clear evidence of the impact and value of AI technology to today's world. The emerging applications track features technologies that are rapidly maturing to the point of application. The seven articles selected for this special issue are extended versions of the papers that appeared at the conference. Four of the articles describe deployed applications that are already in use in the field.

The Seventh International Workshop on Qualitative Reasoning about Physical Systems

AI Magazine

The Seventh International Workshop on Qualitative Reasoning about Physical Systems was held on 16-19 May 1993. The bulk of the 50 attendees work in the AI area, but several engineers and cognitive psychologists also attended. The two topics attracting special attention were automated modeling and the design task. This article briefly describes some of the presentations and discussions held during the workshop. To promote deep and focused discussion, participation was limited to 50 researchers; the bulk of attendees work in the area of AI, but several engineers and cognitive psychologists enriched the atmosphere.