Peot, Mark Alan, Shachter, Ross D.

The process of diagnosis involves learning about the state of a system from various observations of symptoms or findings about the system. Sophisticated Bayesian (and other) algorithms have been developed to revise and maintain beliefs about the system as observations are made. Nonetheless, diagnostic models have tended to ignore some common sense reasoning exploited by human diagnosticians; In particular, one can learn from which observations have not been made, in the spirit of conversational implicature. There are two concepts that we describe to extract information from the observations not made. First, some symptoms, if present, are more likely to be reported before others. Second, most human diagnosticians and expert systems are economical in their data-gathering, searching first where they are more likely to find symptoms present. Thus, there is a desirable bias toward reporting symptoms that are present. We develop a simple model for these concepts that can significantly improve diagnostic inference.

We discuss the representation of knowledge and of belief from the viewpoint of decision theory. While the Bayesian approach enjoys general-purpose applicability and axiomatic foundations, it suffers from several drawbacks. In particular, it does not model the belief formation process, and does not relate beliefs to evidence. We survey alternative approaches, and focus on formal model of casebased prediction and case-based decisions. A formal model of belief and knowledge representation needs to address several questions. The most basic ones are: (i) how do we represent knowledge?

We propose an abductive diagnosis theory that integrates probabilistic, causal and taxonomic knowledge. Probabilistic knowledge allows us to select the most likely explanation; causal knowledge allows us to make reasonable independence assumptions; taxonomic knowledge allows causation to be modeled at different levels of detail, and allows observations be described in different levels of precision. Unlike most other approaches where a causal explanation is a hypothesis that one or more causative events occurred, we define an explanation of a set of observations to be an occurrence of a chain of causation events. These causation events constitute a scenario where all the observations are true. We show that the probabilities of the scenarios can be computed from the conditional probabilities of the causation events. Abductive reasoning is inherently complex even if only modest expressive power is allowed. However, our abduction algorithm is exponential only in the number of observations to be explained, and is polynomial in the size of the knowledge base. This contrasts with many other abduction procedures that are exponential in the size of the knowledge base.

Nedić, Angelia, Olshevsky, Alex, Uribe, César A.

We present a distributed (non-Bayesian) learning algorithm for the problem of parameter estimation with Gaussian noise. The algorithm is expressed as explicit updates on the parameters of the Gaussian beliefs (i.e. means and precision). We show a convergence rate of $O(1/k)$ with the constant term depending on the number of agents and the topology of the network. Moreover, we show almost sure convergence to the optimal solution of the estimation problem for the general case of time-varying directed graphs.

Shekhar, Shubhanshu, Javidi, Tara

In this paper, the problem of maximizing a black-box function $f:\mathcal{X} \to \mathbb{R}$ is studied in the Bayesian framework with a Gaussian Process (GP) prior. In particular, a new algorithm for this problem is proposed, and high probability bounds on its simple and cumulative regret are established. The query point selection rule in most existing methods involves an exhaustive search over an increasingly fine sequence of uniform discretizations of $\mathcal{X}$. The proposed algorithm, in contrast, adaptively refines $\mathcal{X}$ which leads to a lower computational complexity, particularly when $\mathcal{X}$ is a subset of a high dimensional Euclidean space. In addition to the computational gains, sufficient conditions are identified under which the regret bounds of the new algorithm improve upon the known results. Finally an extension of the algorithm to the case of contextual bandits is proposed, and high probability bounds on the contextual regret are presented.