Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence
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When do Numbers Really Matter?
Hei Chan, Adnan Darwiche
Common wisdom has it that small distinctions in the probabilities quantifying a Bayesian network do not matter much for the resultsof probabilistic queries. However, one can easily develop realistic scenarios under which small variations in network probabilities can lead to significant changes in computed queries. A pending theoretical question is then to analytically characterize parameter changes that do or do not matter. In this paper, we study the sensitivity of probabilistic queries to changes in network parameters and prove some tight bounds on the impact that such parameters can have on queries. Our analytical results pinpoint some interesting situations under which parameter changes do or do not matter. These results are important for knowledge engineers as they help them identify influential network parameters. They are also important for approximate inference algorithms that preprocessnetwork CPTs to eliminate small distinctions in probabilities.
Pages: 65-74
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PDF Link: /papers/01/p65-chan.pdf
AUTHOR = "Hei Chan and Adnan Darwiche",
TITLE = "When do Numbers Really Matter?",
BOOKTITLE = "Proceedings of the Seventeenth Conference Annual Conference on Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence (UAI-01)",
PUBLISHER = "Morgan Kaufmann",
ADDRESS = "San Francisco, CA",
YEAR = "2001",
PAGES = "65--74"

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