Tree structures have been shown to provide an efficient framework for propagating beliefs [Pearl,1986]. This paper studies the problem of finding an optimal approximating tree. The star decomposition scheme for sets of three binary variables [Lazarsfeld,1966; Pearl,1986] is shown to enhance the class of probability distributions that can support tree structures; such structures are called tree-decomposable structures. The logarithm scoring rule is found to be an appropriate optimality criterion to evaluate different tree-decomposable structures. Characteristics of such structures closest to the actual belief network are identified using the logarithm rule, and greedy and exact techniques are developed to find the optimal approximation.

This paper considers the problem of invoking auxiliary, unobservable variables to facilitate the structuring of causal tree models for a given set of continuous variables. Paralleling the treatment of bi-valued variables in [Pearl 1986], we show that if a collection of coupled variables are governed by a joint normal distribution and a tree-structured representation exists, then both the topology and all internal relationships of the tree can be uncovered by observing pairwise dependencies among the observed variables (i.e., the leaves of the tree). Furthermore, the conditions for normally distributed variables are less restrictive than those governing bi-valued variables. The result extends the applications of causal tree models which were found useful in evidential reasoning tasks.

A framework is presented for a computational theory of probabilistic argument. The Probabilistic Reasoning Environment encodes knowledge at three levels. At the deepest level are a set of schemata encoding the system's domain knowledge. This knowledge is used to build a set of second-level arguments, which are structured for efficient recapture of the knowledge used to construct them. Finally, at the top level is a Bayesian network constructed from the arguments. The system is designed to facilitate not just propagation of beliefs and assimilation of evidence, but also the dynamic process of constructing a belief network, evaluating its adequacy, and revising it when necessary.

Abdullah, Wan Ahmad Tajuddin Wan

In the interpretation of experimental data, one is actually looking for plausible explanations. We look for a measure of plausibility, with which we can compare different possible explanations, and which can be combined when there are different sets of data. This is contrasted to the conventional measure for probabilities as well as to the proposed measure of possibilities. We define what characteristics this measure of plausibility should have. In getting to the conception of this measure, we explore the relation of plausibility to abductive reasoning, and to Bayesian probabilities. We also compare with the Dempster-Schaefer theory of evidence, which also has its own definition for plausibility. Abduction can be associated with biconditionality in inference rules, and this provides a platform to relate to the Collins-Michalski theory of plausibility. Finally, using a formalism for wiring logic onto Hopfield neural networks, we ask if this is relevant in obtaining this measure.

We describe a representation and a set of inference methods that combine logic programming techniques with probabilistic network representations for uncertainty (influence diagrams). The techniques emphasize the dynamic construction and solution of probabilistic and decision-theoretic models for complex and uncertain domains. Given a query, a logical proof is produced if possible; if not, an influence diagram based on the query and the knowledge of the decision domain is produced and subsequently solved. A uniform declarative, first-order, knowledge representation is combined with a set of integrated inference procedures for logical, probabilistic, and decision-theoretic reasoning.