Representing and Reasoning with Qualitative Preferences for Compositional Systems

Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research

Many applications, e.g., Web service composition, complex system design, team formation, etc., rely on methods for identifying collections of objects or entities satisfying some functional requirement. Among the collections that satisfy the functional requirement, it is often necessary to identify one or more collections that are optimal with respect to user preferences over a set of attributes that describe the non-functional properties of the collection. We develop a formalism that lets users express the relative importance among attributes and qualitative preferences over the valuations of each attribute. We define a dominance relation that allows us to compare collections of objects in terms of preferences over attributes of the objects that make up the collection. We establish some key properties of the dominance relation. In particular, we show that the dominance relation is a strict partial order when the intra-attribute preference relations are strict partial orders and the relative importance preference relation is an interval order. We provide algorithms that use this dominance relation to identify the set of most preferred collections. We show that under certain conditions, the algorithms are guaranteed to return only (sound), all (complete), or at least one (weakly complete) of the most preferred collections. We present results of simulation experiments comparing the proposed algorithms with respect to (a) the quality of solutions (number of most preferred solutions) produced by the algorithms, and (b) their performance and efficiency. We also explore some interesting conjectures suggested by the results of our experiments that relate the properties of the user preferences, the dominance relation, and the algorithms.


Identifying Sustainable Designs Using Preferences over Sustainability Attributes

AAAI Conferences

We consider the problem of assessing the sustainability of alternative designs (e.g., for an urban environment) that are assembled from multiple components (e.g., water supply, transportation system, shopping centers, commercial spaces, parks). We model the sustainability of a design in terms of a set of sustainability attributes. Given the (qualitative) preferences and tradeoffs of decision makers over the sustainability attributes, we formulate the problem of identifying sustainable designs as the problem of finding the most preferred designs with respect to those preferences. We show how techniques for representing and reasoning with qualitative preferences can be used to identify the most preferred designs based on the decision maker’s stated preferences and tradeoffs.


Representing and Reasoning with Qualitative Preferences for Compositional Systems

Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research

Many applications, e.g., Web service composition, complex system design, team formation, etc., rely on methods for identifying collections of objects or entities satisfying some functional requirement. Among the collections that satisfy the functional requirement, it is often necessary to identify one or more collections that are optimal with respect to user preferences over a set of attributes that describe the non-functional properties of the collection. We develop a formalism that lets users express the relative importance among attributes and qualitative preferences over the valuations of each attribute. We define a dominance relation that allows us to compare collections of objects in terms of preferences over attributes of the objects that make up the collection. We establish some key properties of the dominance relation.


Efficient Dominance Testing for Unconditional Preferences

AAAI Conferences

We study a dominance relation for comparing outcomes based on unconditional qualitative preferences and compare it with its unconditional counterparts for TCP-nets and their variants. Dominance testing based on this relation can be carried out in polynomial time by evaluating the satisfiability of a logic formula.


On Graphical Modeling of Preference and Importance

AAAI Conferences

In recent years, CP-nets have emerged as a useful tool for supporting preference elicitation, reasoning, and representation. CP-nets capture and support reasoning with qualitative conditional preference statements, statements that are relatively natural for users to express. In this paper, we extend the CP-nets formalism to handle another class of very natural qualitative statements one often uses in expressing preferences in daily life - statements of relative importance of attributes. The resulting formalism, TCPnets, maintains the spirit of CP-nets, in that it remains focused on using only simple and natural preference statements, uses the ceteris paribus semantics, and utilizes a graphical representation of this information to reason about its consistency and to perform, possibly constrained, optimization using it. The extra expressiveness it provides allows us to better model tradeoffs users would like to make, more faithfully representing their preferences.