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Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research


Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research

Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research

JAIR is published by AI Access Foundation, a nonprofit public charity whose purpose is to facilitate the dissemination of scientific results in artificial intelligence. JAIR, established in 1993, was one of the first open-access scientific journals on the Web, and has been a leading publication venue since its inception. We invite you to check out our other initiatives.


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Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research

JAIR and ACM are very pleased to announce that JAIR articles are now being hosted by the ACM Digital Library, in addition to the JAIR.org While the journal will continue to be managed and published as an independent, open access journal, this partnership will provide greater visibility for JAIR articles and their authors. When it was launched in 1993, JAIR was one of the very first open access scientific journals. Since then, JAIR has not only emerged as one of the top publication venues in artificial intelligence, but also inspired the creation of other, similarly successful open access journals. Now, JAIR is taking another major step by launching its transparent publishing initiative. Starting today, JAIR publishes, on a regular basis, detailed metrics on its submission handling process, including empirical likelihoods for all evaluation outcomes and average times for reaching these outcomes.


Dimensional Inconsistency Measures and Postulates in Spatio-Temporal Databases

Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research

The problem of managing spatio-temporal data arises in many applications, such as location-based services, environmental monitoring, geographic information systems, and many others. Often spatio-temporal data arising from such applications turn out to be inconsistent, i.e., representing an impossible situation in the real world. Though several inconsistency measures have been proposed to quantify in a principled way inconsistency in propositional knowledge bases, little effort has been done so far on inconsistency measures tailored for the spatio-temporal setting. In this paper, we define and investigate new measures that are particularly suitable for dealing with inconsistent spatio-temporal information, because they explicitly take into account the spatial and temporal dimensions, as well as the dimension concerning the identifiers of the monitored objects. Specifically, we first define natural measures that look at individual dimensions (time, space, and objects), and then propose measures based on the notion of a repair. We then analyze their behavior w.r.t. common postulates defined for classical propositional knowledge bases, and find that the latter are not suitable for spatio-temporal databases, in that the proposed inconsistency measures do not often satisfy them. In light of this, we argue that also postulates should explicitly take into account the spatial, temporal, and object dimensions and thus define “dimension-aware” counterparts of common postulates, which are indeed often satisfied by the new inconsistency measures. Finally, we study the complexity of the proposed inconsistency measures.


Declarative Algorithms and Complexity Results for Assumption-Based Argumentation

Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research

The study of computational models for argumentation is a vibrant area of artificial intelligence and, in particular, knowledge representation and reasoning research. Arguments most often have an intrinsic structure made explicit through derivations from more basic structures. Computational models for structured argumentation enable making the internal structure of arguments explicit. Assumption-based argumentation (ABA) is a central structured formalism for argumentation in AI. In this article, we make both algorithmic and complexity-theoretic advances in the study of ABA. In terms of algorithms, we propose a new approach to reasoning in a commonly studied fragment of ABA (namely the logic programming fragment) with and without preferences. While previous approaches to reasoning over ABA frameworks apply either specialized algorithms or translate ABA reasoning to reasoning over abstract argumentation frameworks, we develop a direct declarative approach to ABA reasoning by encoding ABA reasoning tasks in answer set programming. We show via an extensive empirical evaluation that our approach significantly improves on the empirical performance of current ABA reasoning systems. In terms of computational complexity, while the complexity of reasoning over ABA frameworks is well-understood, the complexity of reasoning in the ABA+ formalism integrating preferences into ABA is currently not fully established. Towards bridging this gap, our results suggest that the integration of preferential information into ABA via so-called reverse attacks results in increased problem complexity for several central argumentation semantics.


Game Plan: What AI can do for Football, and What Football can do for AI

Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research

The rapid progress in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning has opened unprecedented analytics possibilities in various team and individual sports, including baseball, basketball, and tennis. More recently, AI techniques have been applied to football, due to a huge increase in data collection by professional teams, increased computational power, and advances in machine learning, with the goal of better addressing new scientific challenges involved in the analysis of both individual players’ and coordinated teams’ behaviors. The research challenges associated with predictive and prescriptive football analytics require new developments and progress at the intersection of statistical learning, game theory, and computer vision. In this paper, we provide an overarching perspective highlighting how the combination of these fields, in particular, forms a unique microcosm for AI research, while offering mutual benefits for professional teams, spectators, and broadcasters in the years to come. We illustrate that this duality makes football analytics a game changer of tremendous value, in terms of not only changing the game of football itself, but also in terms of what this domain can mean for the field of AI. We review the state-of-the-art and exemplify the types of analysis enabled by combining the aforementioned fields, including illustrative examples of counterfactual analysis using predictive models, and the combination of game-theoretic analysis of penalty kicks with statistical learning of player attributes. We conclude by highlighting envisioned downstream impacts, including possibilities for extensions to other sports (real and virtual).


Representative Committees of Peers

Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research

A population of voters must elect representatives among themselves to decide on a sequence of possibly unforeseen binary issues. Voters care only about the final decision, not the elected representatives. The disutility of a voter is proportional to the fraction of issues, where his preferences disagree with the decision. While an issue-by-issue vote by all voters would maximize social welfare, we are interested in how well the preferences of the population can be approximated by a small committee. We show that a k-sortition (a random committee of k voters with the majority vote within the committee) leads to an outcome within the factor 1+O(1/√ k) of the optimal social cost for any number of voters n, any number of issues m, and any preference profile. For a small number of issues m, the social cost can be made even closer to optimal by delegation procedures that weigh committee members according to their number of followers. However, for large m, we demonstrate that the k-sortition is the worst-case optimal rule within a broad family of committee-based rules that take into account metric information about the preference profile of the whole population.


Conceptual Modeling of Explainable Recommender Systems: An Ontological Formalization to Guide Their Design and Development

Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research

With the increasing importance of e-commerce and the immense variety of products, users need help to decide which ones are the most interesting to them. This is one of the main goals of recommender systems. However, users' trust may be compromised if they do not understand how or why the recommendation was achieved. Here, explanations are essential to improve user confidence in recommender systems and to make the recommendation useful. Providing explanation capabilities into recommender systems is not an easy task as their success depends on several aspects such as the explanation's goal, the user's expectation, the knowledge available, or the presentation method. Therefore, this work proposes a conceptual model to alleviate this problem by defining the requirements of explanations for recommender systems. Our goal is to provide a model that guides the development of effective explanations for recommender systems as they are correctly designed and suited to the user's needs. Although earlier explanation taxonomies sustain this work, our model includes new concepts not considered in previous works. Moreover, we make a novel contribution regarding the formalization of this model as an ontology that can be integrated into the development of proper explanations for recommender systems.


Viewpoint: AI as Author – Bridging the Gap Between Machine Learning and Literary Theory

Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research

Anticipating the rise in Artificial Intelligence’s ability to produce original works of literature, this study suggests that literariness, or that which constitutes a text as literary, is understudied in relation to text generation. From a computational perspective, literature is particularly challenging because it typically employs figurative and ambiguous language. Literary expertise would be beneficial to understanding how meaning and emotion are conveyed in this art form but is often overlooked. We propose placing experts from two dissimilar disciplines – machine learning and literary studies – in conversation to improve the quality of AI writing. Concentrating on evaluation as a vital stage in the text generation process, the study demonstrates that benefit could be derived from literary theoretical perspectives. This knowledge would improve algorithm design and enable a deeper understanding of how AI learns and generates. This article appears in the special track on AI and Society.


Agent-Based Markov Modeling for Improved COVID-19 Mitigation Policies

Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research

The year 2020 saw the covid-19 virus lead to one of the worst global pandemics in history. As a result, governments around the world have been faced with the challenge of protecting public health while keeping the economy running to the greatest extent possible. Epidemiological models provide insight into the spread of these types of diseases and predict the effects of possible intervention policies. However, to date, even the most data-driven intervention policies rely on heuristics. In this paper, we study how reinforcement learning (RL) and Bayesian inference can be used to optimize mitigation policies that minimize economic impact without overwhelming hospital capacity. Our main contributions are (1) a novel agent-based pandemic simulator which, unlike traditional models, is able to model fine-grained interactions among people at specific locations in a community; (2) an RLbased methodology for optimizing fine-grained mitigation policies within this simulator; and (3) a Hidden Markov Model for predicting infected individuals based on partial observations regarding test results, presence of symptoms, and past physical contacts. This article is part of the special track on AI and COVID-19.


Welfare Guarantees in Schelling Segregation

Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research

Schelling's model is an influential model that reveals how individual perceptions and incentives can lead to residential segregation. Inspired by a recent stream of work, we study welfare guarantees and complexity in this model with respect to several welfare measures. First, we show that while maximizing the social welfare is NP-hard, computing an assignment of agents to the nodes of any topology graph with approximately half of the maximum welfare can be done in polynomial time. We then consider Pareto optimality, introduce two new optimality notions based on it, and establish mostly tight bounds on the worst-case welfare loss for assignments satisfying these notions as well as the complexity of computing such assignments. In addition, we show that for tree topologies, it is possible to decide whether there exists an assignment that gives every agent a positive utility in polynomial time; moreover, when every node in the topology has degree at least 2, such an assignment always exists and can be found efficiently.