Information Technology

Grounded Semantic Composition for Visual Scenes Artificial Intelligence

We present a visually-grounded language understanding model based on a study of how people verbally describe objects in scenes. The emphasis of the model is on the combination of individual word meanings to produce meanings for complex referring expressions. The model has been implemented, and it is able to understand a broad range of spatial referring expressions. We describe our implementation of word level visually-grounded semantics and their embedding in a compositional parsing framework. The implemented system selects the correct referents in response to natural language expressions for a large percentage of test cases. In an analysis of the system's successes and failures we reveal how visual context influences the semantics of utterances and propose future extensions to the model that take such context into account.

Compositional Model Repositories via Dynamic Constraint Satisfaction with Order-of-Magnitude Preferences Artificial Intelligence

The predominant knowledge-based approach to automated model construction, compositional modelling, employs a set of models of particular functional components. Its inference mechanism takes a scenario describing the constituent interacting components of a system and translates it into a useful mathematical model. This paper presents a novel compositional modelling approach aimed at building model repositories. It furthers the field in two respects. Firstly, it expands the application domain of compositional modelling to systems that can not be easily described in terms of interacting functional components, such as ecological systems. Secondly, it enables the incorporation of user preferences into the model selection process. These features are achieved by casting the compositional modelling problem as an activity-based dynamic preference constraint satisfaction problem, where the dynamic constraints describe the restrictions imposed over the composition of partial models and the preferences correspond to those of the user of the automated modeller. In addition, the preference levels are represented through the use of symbolic values that differ in orders of magnitude.

Dual Modelling of Permutation and Injection Problems Artificial Intelligence

When writing a constraint program, we have to choose which variables should be the decision variables, and how to represent the constraints on these variables. In many cases, there is considerable choice for the decision variables. Consider, for example, permutation problems in which we have as many values as variables, and each variable takes an unique value. In such problems, we can choose between a primal and a dual viewpoint. In the dual viewpoint, each dual variable represents one of the primal values, whilst each dual value represents one of the primal variables. Alternatively, by means of channelling constraints to link the primal and dual variables, we can have a combined model with both sets of variables. In this paper, we perform an extensive theoretical and empirical study of such primal, dual and combined models for two classes of problems: permutation problems and injection problems. Our results show that it often be advantageous to use multiple viewpoints, and to have constraints which channel between them to maintain consistency. They also illustrate a general methodology for comparing different constraint models.

Explicit Learning Curves for Transduction and Application to Clustering and Compression Algorithms Artificial Intelligence

Inductive learning is based on inferring a general rule from a finite data set and using it to label new data. In transduction one attempts to solve the problem of using a labeled training set to label a set of unlabeled points, which are given to the learner prior to learning. Although transduction seems at the outset to be an easier task than induction, there have not been many provably useful algorithms for transduction. Moreover, the precise relation between induction and transduction has not yet been determined. The main theoretical developments related to transduction were presented by Vapnik more than twenty years ago. One of Vapnik's basic results is a rather tight error bound for transductive classification based on an exact computation of the hypergeometric tail. While tight, this bound is given implicitly via a computational routine. Our first contribution is a somewhat looser but explicit characterization of a slightly extended PAC-Bayesian version of Vapnik's transductive bound. This characterization is obtained using concentration inequalities for the tail of sums of random variables obtained by sampling without replacement. We then derive error bounds for compression schemes such as (transductive) support vector machines and for transduction algorithms based on clustering. The main observation used for deriving these new error bounds and algorithms is that the unlabeled test points, which in the transductive setting are known in advance, can be used in order to construct useful data dependent prior distributions over the hypothesis space.

Towards a Reliable Framework of Uncertainty-Based Group Decision Support System Artificial Intelligence

This study proposes a framework of Uncertainty-based Group Decision Support System (UGDSS). It provides a platform for multiple criteria decision analysis in six aspects including (1) decision environment, (2) decision problem, (3) decision group, (4) decision conflict, (5) decision schemes and (6) group negotiation. Based on multiple artificial intelligent technologies, this framework provides reliable support for the comprehensive manipulation of applications and advanced decision approaches through the design of an integrated multi-agents architecture.

Graduality in Argumentation Artificial Intelligence

Argumentation is based on the exchange and valuation of interacting arguments, followed by the selection of the most acceptable of them (for example, in order to take a decision, to make a choice). Starting from the framework proposed by Dung in 1995, our purpose is to introduce 'graduality' in the selection of the best arguments, i.e., to be able to partition the set of the arguments in more than the two usual subsets of 'selected' and 'non-selected' arguments in order to represent different levels of selection. Our basic idea is that an argument is all the more acceptable if it can be preferred to its attackers. First, we discuss general principles underlying a 'gradual' valuation of arguments based on their interactions. Following these principles, we define several valuation models for an abstract argumentation system. Then, we introduce 'graduality' in the concept of acceptability of arguments. We propose new acceptability classes and a refinement of existing classes taking advantage of an available 'gradual' valuation.

Decentralized Supply Chain Formation: A Market Protocol and Competitive Equilibrium Analysis Artificial Intelligence

Supply chain formation is the process of determining the structure and terms of exchange relationships to enable a multilevel, multiagent production activity. We present a simple model of supply chains, highlighting two characteristic features: hierarchical subtask decomposition, and resource contention. To decentralize the formation process, we introduce a market price system over the resources produced along the chain. In a competitive equilibrium for this system, agents choose locally optimal allocations with respect to prices, and outcomes are optimal overall. To determine prices, we define a market protocol based on distributed, progressive auctions, and myopic, non-strategic agent bidding policies. In the presence of resource contention, this protocol produces better solutions than the greedy protocols common in the artificial intelligence and multiagent systems literature. The protocol often converges to high-value supply chains, and when competitive equilibria exist, typically to approximate competitive equilibria. However, complementarities in agent production technologies can cause the protocol to wastefully allocate inputs to agents that do not produce their outputs. A subsequent decommitment phase recovers a significant fraction of the lost surplus.

Towards Understanding and Harnessing the Potential of Clause Learning Artificial Intelligence

Efficient implementations of DPLL with the addition of clause learning are the fastest complete Boolean satisfiability solvers and can handle many significant real-world problems, such as verification, planning and design. Despite its importance, little is known of the ultimate strengths and limitations of the technique. This paper presents the first precise characterization of clause learning as a proof system (CL), and begins the task of understanding its power by relating it to the well-studied resolution proof system. In particular, we show that with a new learning scheme, CL can provide exponentially shorter proofs than many proper refinements of general resolution (RES) satisfying a natural property. These include regular and Davis-Putnam resolution, which are already known to be much stronger than ordinary DPLL. We also show that a slight variant of CL with unlimited restarts is as powerful as RES itself. Translating these analytical results to practice, however, presents a challenge because of the nondeterministic nature of clause learning algorithms. We propose a novel way of exploiting the underlying problem structure, in the form of a high level problem description such as a graph or PDDL specification, to guide clause learning algorithms toward faster solutions. We show that this leads to exponential speed-ups on grid and randomized pebbling problems, as well as substantial improvements on certain ordering formulas.

Restricted Value Iteration: Theory and Algorithms Artificial Intelligence

Value iteration is a popular algorithm for finding near optimal policies for POMDPs. It is inefficient due to the need to account for the entire belief space, which necessitates the solution of large numbers of linear programs. In this paper, we study value iteration restricted to belief subsets. We show that, together with properly chosen belief subsets, restricted value iteration yields near-optimal policies and we give a condition for determining whether a given belief subset would bring about savings in space and time. We also apply restricted value iteration to two interesting classes of POMDPs, namely informative POMDPs and near-discernible POMDPs.

PHA*: Finding the Shortest Path with A* in An Unknown Physical Environment Artificial Intelligence

We address the problem of finding the shortest path between two points in an unknown real physical environment, where a traveling agent must move around in the environment to explore unknown territory. We introduce the Physical-A* algorithm (PHA*) for solving this problem. PHA* expands all the mandatory nodes that A* would expand and returns the shortest path between the two points. However, due to the physical nature of the problem, the complexity of the algorithm is measured by the traveling effort of the moving agent and not by the number of generated nodes, as in standard A*. PHA* is presented as a two-level algorithm, such that its high level, A*, chooses the next node to be expanded and its low level directs the agent to that node in order to explore it. We present a number of variations for both the high-level and low-level procedures and evaluate their performance theoretically and experimentally. We show that the travel cost of our best variation is fairly close to the optimal travel cost, assuming that the mandatory nodes of A* are known in advance. We then generalize our algorithm to the multi-agent case, where a number of cooperative agents are designed to solve the problem. Specifically, we provide an experimental implementation for such a system. It should be noted that the problem addressed here is not a navigation problem, but rather a problem of finding the shortest path between two points for future usage.