The Age of Analog Networks

AI Magazine

A large class of systems of biological and technological relevance can be described as analog networks, that is, collections of dynamical devices interconnected by links of varying strength. Some examples of analog networks are genetic regulatory networks, metabolic networks, neural networks, analog electronic circuits, and control systems. Analog networks are typically complex systems which include nonlinear feedback loops and possess temporal dynamics at different time scales. Both the synthesis and reverse engineering of analog networks are recognized as knowledge-intensive activities, for which few systematic techniques exist. In this paper we will discuss the general relevance of the analog network concept and describe an evolutionary approach to the automatic synthesis and the reverse engineering of analog networks. The proposed approach is called analog genetic encoding (AGE) and realizes an implicit genetic encoding of analog networks. AGE permits the evolution of human-competitive solutions to real-world analog network design and identification problems. This is illustrated by some examples of application to the design of electronic circuits, control systems, learning neural architectures, and the reverse engineering of biological networks.

Solving Multiagent Networks Using Distributed Constraint Optimization

AI Magazine

In many cooperative multiagent domains, the effect of local interactions between agents can be compactly represented as a network structure. Given that agents are spread across such a network, agents directly interact only with a small group of neighbors. A distributed constraint optimization problem (DCOP) is a useful framework to reason about such networks of agents. Given agents’ inability to communicate and collaborate in large groups in such networks, we focus on an approach called k-optimality for solving DCOPs. In this approach, agents form groups of one or more agents until no group of k or fewer agents can possibly improve the DCOP solution; we define this type of local optimum, and any algorithm guaranteed to reach such a local optimum, as k-optimal. The article provides an overview of three key results related to koptimality. The first set of results gives worst-case guarantees on the solution quality of k-optima in a DCOP. These guarantees can help determine an appropriate k-optimal algorithm, or possibly an appropriate constraint graph structure, for agents to use in situations where the cost of coordination between agents must be weighed against the quality of the solution reached. The second set of results gives upper bounds on the number of k-optima that can exist in a DCOP. These results are useful in domains where a DCOP must generate a set of solutions rather than a single solution. Finally, we sketch algorithms for k-optimality and provide some experimental results for 1-, 2- and 3-optimal algorithms for several types of DCOPs.

Intelligent Peer Networks for Collaborative Web Search

AI Magazine

Collaborative query routing is a new paradigm for Web search that treats both established search engines and other publicly available indices as intelligent peer agents in a search network. The approach makes it transparent for anyone to build their own (micro) search engine, by integrating established Web search services, desktop search, and topical crawling techniques. The challenge in this model is that each of these agents must learn about its environment— the existence, knowledge, diversity, reliability, and trustworthiness of other agents — by analyzing the queries received from and results exchanged with these other agents. We present the 6S peer network, which uses machine learning techniques to learn about the changing query environment. We show that simple reinforcement learning algorithms are sufficient to detect and exploit semantic locality in the network, resulting in efficient routing and high-quality search results. A prototype of 6S is available for public use and is intended to assist in the evaluation of different AI techniques employed by the networked agents.

The Fractal Nature of the Semantic Web

AI Magazine

In the past, many knowledge representation systems failed because they were too monolithic and didn’t scale well, whereas other systems failed to have an impact because they were small and isolated. Along with this trade-off in size, there is also a constant tension between the cost involved in building a larger community that can interoperate through common terms and the cost of the lack of interoperability. The semantic web offers a good compromise between these approaches as it achieves wide-scale communication and interoperability using finite effort and cost. The semantic web is a set of standards for knowledge representation and exchange that is aimed at providing interoperability across applications and organizations. We believe that the gathering success of this technology is not derived from the particular choice of syntax or of logic. Its main contribution is in recognizing and supporting the fractal patterns of scalable web systems. These systems will be composed of many overlapping communities of all sizes, ranging from one individual to the entire population that have internal (but not global) consistency. The information in these systems, including documents and messages, will contain some terms that are understood and accepted globally, some that are understood within certain communities, and some that are understood locally within the system. The amount of interoperability between interacting agents (software or human) will depend on how many communities they have in common and how many ontologies (groups of consistent and related terms) they share. In this article we discuss why fractal patterns are an appropriate model for web systems and how semantic web technologies can be used to design scalable and interoperable systems.

Networks and Natural Language Processing

AI Magazine

Over the last few years, a number of areas of natural language processing have begun applying graph-based techniques. These include, among others, text summarization, syntactic parsing, word-sense disambiguation, ontology construction, sentiment and subjectivity analysis, and text clustering. In this paper, we present some of the most successful graph-based representations and algorithms used in language processing and try to explain how and why they work.

Introduction to the Special Issue on AI and Networks

AI Magazine

This introduction to AI Magazine's Special Issue on Networks and AI summarizes the seven articles in the special issue by characterizing the nature of the networks that are the focus of each of the papers. A short tutorial on graph theory and network structures is included for those less familiar with the topic.

Randomized Distributed Configuration Management of Wireless Networks: Multi-layer Markov Random Fields and Near-Optimality Artificial Intelligence

Distributed configuration management is imperative for wireless infrastructureless networks where each node adjusts locally its physical and logical configuration through information exchange with neighbors. Two issues remain open. The first is the optimality. The second is the complexity. We study these issues through modeling, analysis, and randomized distributed algorithms. Modeling defines the optimality. We first derive a global probabilistic model for a network configuration which characterizes jointly the statistical spatial dependence of a physical- and a logical-configuration. We then show that a local model which approximates the global model is a two-layer Markov Random Field or a random bond model. The complexity of the local model is the communication range among nodes. The local model is near-optimal when the approximation error to the global model is within a given error bound. We analyze the trade-off between an approximation error and complexity, and derive sufficient conditions on the near-optimality of the local model. We validate the model, the analysis and the randomized distributed algorithms also through simulation.

Grammar-Based Random Walkers in Semantic Networks Artificial Intelligence

Semantic networks qualify the meaning of an edge relating any two vertices. Determining which vertices are most "central" in a semantic network is difficult because one relationship type may be deemed subjectively more important than another. For this reason, research into semantic network metrics has focused primarily on context-based rankings (i.e. user prescribed contexts). Moreover, many of the current semantic network metrics rank semantic associations (i.e. directed paths between two vertices) and not the vertices themselves. This article presents a framework for calculating semantically meaningful primary eigenvector-based metrics such as eigenvector centrality and PageRank in semantic networks using a modified version of the random walker model of Markov chain analysis. Random walkers, in the context of this article, are constrained by a grammar, where the grammar is a user defined data structure that determines the meaning of the final vertex ranking. The ideas in this article are presented within the context of the Resource Description Framework (RDF) of the Semantic Web initiative.

Agent-based Ecological Model Calibration - on the Edge of a New Approach Artificial Intelligence

The purpose of this paper is to present a new approach to ecological model calibration -- an agent-based software. This agent works on three stages: 1- It builds a matrix that synthesizes the inter-variable relationships; 2- It analyses the steady-state sensitivity of different variables to different parameters; 3- It runs the model iteratively and measures model lack of fit, adequacy and reliability. Stage 3 continues until some convergence criteria are attained. At each iteration, the agent knows from stages 1 and 2, which parameters are most likely to produce the desired shift on predicted results.

ECOLANG - Communications Language for Ecological Simulations Network Artificial Intelligence

This document describes the communication language used in one multiagent system environment for ecological simulations, based on EcoDynamo simulator application linked with several intelligent agents and visualisation applications, and extends the initial definition of the language. The agents actions and perceptions are translated into messages exchanged with the simulator application and other agents. The concepts and definitions used follow the BNF notation (Backus et al. 1960) and is inspired in the Coach Unilang language (Reis and Lau 2002).