Molineaux, Matthew (Knexus Research Corporation) | Aha, David W. (Naval Research Laboratory) | Sukthankar, Gita (University of Central Florida)

In this paper, we investigate the hypothesis that plan recognition can significantly improve the performance of a case-based reinforcement learner in an adversarial action selection task. Our environment is a simplification of an American football game. The performance task is to control the behavior of a quarterback in a pass play, where the goal is to maximize yardage gained. Plan recognition focuses on predicting the play of the defensive team. We modeled plan recognition as an unsupervised learning task, and conducted a lesion study. We found that plan recognition was accurate, and that it significantly improved performance. More generally, our studies show that plan recognition reduced the dimensionality of the state space, which allowed learning to be conducted more effectively. We describe the algorithms, explain the reasons for performance improvement, and also describe a further empirical comparison that highlights the utility of plan recognition for this task.

A major inference task in Bayesian networks is explaining why some variables are observed in their particular states using a set of target variables. Existing methods for solving this problem often generate explanations that are either too simple (underspecified) or too complex (overspecified). In this paper, we introduce a method called Most Relevant Explanation (MRE) which finds a partial instantiation of the target variables that maximizes the generalized Bayes factor (GBF) as the best explanation for the given evidence. Our study shows that GBF has several theoretical properties that enable MRE to automatically identify the most relevant target variables in forming its explanation. In particular, conditional Bayes factor (CBF), defined as the GBF of a new explanation conditioned on an existing explanation, provides a soft measure on the degree of relevance of the variables in the new explanation in explaining the evidence given the existing explanation. As a result, MRE is able to automatically prune less relevant variables from its explanation. We also show that CBF is able to capture well the explaining-away phenomenon that is often represented in Bayesian networks. Moreover, we define two dominance relations between the candidate solutions and use the relations to generalize MRE to find a set of top explanations that is both diverse and representative. Case studies on several benchmark diagnostic Bayesian networks show that MRE is often able to find explanatory hypotheses that are not only precise but also concise.

Bajestani, M. Aramon, Beck, J. C.

We address a dynamic repair shop scheduling problem in the context of military aircraft fleet management where the goal is to maintain a full complement of aircraft over the long-term. A number of flights, each with a requirement for a specific number and type of aircraft, are already scheduled over a long horizon. We need to assign aircraft to flights and schedule repair activities while considering the flights requirements, repair capacity, and aircraft failures. The number of aircraft awaiting repair dynamically changes over time due to failures and it is therefore necessary to rebuild the repair schedule online. To solve the problem, we view the dynamic repair shop as successive static repair scheduling sub-problems over shorter time periods. We propose a complete approach based on the logic-based Benders decomposition to solve the static sub-problems, and design different rescheduling policies to schedule the dynamic repair shop. Computational experiments demonstrate that the Benders model is able to find and prove optimal solutions on average four times faster than a mixed integer programming model. The rescheduling approach having both aspects of scheduling over a longer horizon and quickly adjusting the schedule increases aircraft available in the long term by 10% compared to the approaches having either one of the aspects alone.

Sawyer, Robert (North Carolina State University) | Rowe, Jonathan (North Carolina State University) | Azevedo, Roger (University of Central Florida) | Lester, James (North Carolina State University)

Modeling player engagement is a key challenge in games. However, the gameplay signatures of engaged players can be highly context-sensitive, varying based on where the game is used or what population of players is using it. Traditionally, models of player engagement are investigated in a particular context, and it is unclear how effectively these models generalize to other settings and populations. In this work, we investigate a Bayesian hierarchical linear model for multi-task learning to devise a model of player engagement from a pair of datasets that were gathered in two complementary contexts: a Classroom Study with middle school students and a Laboratory Study with undergraduate students. Both groups of players used similar versions of Crystal Island, an educational interactive narrative game for science learning. Results indicate that the Bayesian hierarchical model outperforms both pooled and context-specific models in cross-validation measures of predicting player motivation from in-game behaviors, particularly for the smaller Classroom Study group. Further, we find that the posterior distributions of model parameters indicate that the coefficient for a measure of gameplay performance significantly differs between groups. Drawing upon their capacity to share information across groups, hierarchical Bayesian methods provide an effective approach for modeling player engagement with data from similar, but different, contexts.