How to Improve Political Forecasts - Issue 70: Variables


The 2020 Democratic candidates are out of the gate and the pollsters have the call! Bernie Sanders is leading by two lengths with Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren right behind, but Cory Booker and Beto O'Rourke are coming on fast! The political horse-race season is upon us and I bet I know what you are thinking: "Stop!" Every election we complain about horse-race coverage and every election we stay glued to it all the same. The problem with this kind of coverage is not that it's unimportant.

Efficient Search-Based Weighted Model Integration

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Weighted model integration (WMI) extends Weighted model counting (WMC) to the integration of functions over mixed discrete-continuous domains. It has shown tremendous promise for solving inference problems in graphical models and probabilistic programming. Yet, state-of-the-art tools for WMI are limited in terms of performance and ignore the independence structure that is crucial to improving efficiency. To address this limitation, we propose an efficient model integration algorithm for theories with tree primal graphs. We exploit the sparse graph structure by using search to performing integration. Our algorithm greatly improves the computational efficiency on such problems and exploits context-specific independence between variables. Experimental results show dramatic speedups compared to existing WMI solvers on problems with tree-shaped dependencies.

Generating and Sampling Orbits for Lifted Probabilistic Inference

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Lifted inference scales to large probability models by exploiting symmetry. However, existing exact lifted inference techniques do not apply to general factor graphs, as they require a relational representation. In this work we provide a theoretical framework and algorithm for performing exact lifted inference on symmetric factor graphs by computing colored graph automorphisms, as is often done for approximate lifted inference. Our key insight is to represent variable assignments directly in the colored factor graph encoding. This allows us to generate representatives and compute the size of each orbit of the symmetric distribution. In addition to exact inference, we use this encoding to implement an MCMC algorithm that explores the space of orbits quickly by uniform orbit sampling.

A Multi-armed Bandit MCMC, with applications in sampling from doubly intractable posterior

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) algorithms are widely used to sample from complicated distributions, especially to sample from the posterior distribution in Bayesian inference. However, MCMC is not directly applicable when facing the doubly intractable problem. In this paper, we discussed and compared two existing solutions -- Pseudo-marginal Monte Carlo and Exchange Algorithm. This paper also proposes a novel algorithm: Multi-armed Bandit MCMC (MABMC), which chooses between two (or more) randomized acceptance ratios in each step. MABMC could be applied directly to incorporate Pseudo-marginal Monte Carlo and Exchange algorithm, with higher average acceptance probability.

Probabilistic Temporal Logic over Finite Traces (Technical Report)

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Temporal logics over finite traces have recently gained attention due to their use in real-world applications, in particular in business process modelling and planning. In real life, processes contain some degree of uncertainty that is impossible to handle with classical logics. We propose a new probabilistic temporal logic over finite traces based on superposition semantics, where all possible evolutions are possible, until observed. We study the properties of the logic and provide automata-based mechanisms for deriving probabilistic inferences from its formulas. We ground the approach in the context of declarative process modelling, showing how the temporal patterns used in Declare can be lifted to our setting, and discussing how probabilistic inferences can be exploited to provide key offline and runtime reasoning tasks, and how to discover probabilistic Declare patterns from event data by minor adjustments to existing discovery algorithms.

Understanding Agent Incentives using Causal Influence Diagrams. Part I: Single Action Settings

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Agents are systems that optimize an objective function in an environment. Together, the goal and the environment induce secondary objectives, incentives. Modeling the agent-environment interaction in graphical models called influence diagrams, we can answer two fundamental questions about an agent's incentives directly from the graph: (1) which nodes is the agent incentivized to observe, and (2) which nodes is the agent incentivized to influence? The answers tell us which information and influence points need extra protection. For example, we may want a classifier for job applications to not use the ethnicity of the candidate, and a reinforcement learning agent not to take direct control of its reward mechanism. Different algorithms and training paradigms can lead to different influence diagrams, so our method can be used to identify algorithms with problematic incentives and help in designing algorithms with better incentives.

Markov Networks: Undirected Graphical Models


This article briefs you about Markov Networks which falls under the family of Undirected Graphical Models (UGM). This article is a follow-up to Bayesian Network, which is a type of Directed Graphical Models. Key Motivation behind these networks is to parameterize the Joint Probability Distribution based on Local Independencies between Random Variables. Generally, Bayesian Network requires to pre-define a directionality to assert an influence of random variable. But there might be cases where interaction between nodes ( or random variables) are symmetric in nature, and we would like to have a model which can represent this symmetricity without directional influence.

Rectangular Bounding Process

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Stochastic partition models divide a multi-dimensional space into a number of rectangular regions, such that the data within each region exhibit certain types of homogeneity. Due to the nature of their partition strategy, existing partition models may create many unnecessary divisions in sparse regions when trying to describe data in dense regions. To avoid this problem we introduce a new parsimonious partition model -- the Rectangular Bounding Process (RBP) -- to efficiently partition multi-dimensional spaces, by employing a bounding strategy to enclose data points within rectangular bounding boxes. Unlike existing approaches, the RBP possesses several attractive theoretical properties that make it a powerful nonparametric partition prior on a hypercube. In particular, the RBP is self-consistent and as such can be directly extended from a finite hypercube to infinite (unbounded) space. We apply the RBP to regression trees and relational models as a flexible partition prior. The experimental results validate the merit of the RBP {in rich yet parsimonious expressiveness} compared to the state-of-the-art methods.

An Introduction to Bayesian Reasoning


The coefficients are constrained by the prior and end up smaller in the second example. Although the model is not fit here with Bayesian techniques, it has a Bayesian interpretation. The output here does not quite give a distribution over the coefficient (though other packages can), but does give something related: a 95% confidence interval around the coefficient, in addition to its point estimate. By now you may have a taste for Bayesian techniques and what they can do for you, from a few simple examples. Things get more interesting, however, when we see what priors and posteriors can do for a real-world use case. For part 2, please click here.

Three-Way Decisions-Based Conflict Analysis Models

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Three-way decision theory, which trisects the universe with less risks or costs, is considered as a powerful mathematical tool for handling uncertainty in incomplete and imprecise information tables, and provides an effective tool for conflict analysis decision making in real-time situations. In this paper, we propose the concepts of the agreement, disagreement and neutral subsets of a strategy with two evaluation functions, which establish the three-way decisions-based conflict analysis models(TWDCAMs) for trisecting the universe of agents, and employ a pair of two-way decisions models to interpret the mechanism of the three-way decision rules for an agent. Subsequently, we develop the concepts of the agreement, disagreement and neutral strategies of an agent group with two evaluation functions, which build the TWDCAMs for trisecting the universe of issues, and take a couple of two-way decisions models to explain the mechanism of the three-way decision rules for an issue. Finally, we reconstruct Fan, Qi and Wei's conflict analysis models(FQWCAMs) and Sun, Ma and Zhao's conflict analysis models(SMZCAMs) with two evaluation functions, and interpret FQWCAMs and SMZCAMs with a pair of two-day decisions models, which illustrates that FQWCAMs and SMZCAMs are special cases of TWDCAMs.