Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence
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Towards A General-Purpose Belief Maintenance System
Brian Falkenhainer
There currently exists a gap between the theories proposed by the probability and uncertainty and the needs of Artificial Intelligence research. These theories primarily address the needs of expert systems, using knowledge structures which must be pre-compiled and remain static in structure during runtime. Many Al systems require the ability to dynamically add and remove parts of the current knowledge structure (e.g., in order to examine what the world would be like for different causal theories). This requires more flexibility than existing uncertainty systems display. In addition, many Al researchers are only interested in using "probabilities" as a means of obtaining an ordering, rather than attempting to derive an accurate probabilistic account of a situation. This indicates the need for systems which stress ease of use and don't require extensive probability information when one cannot (or doesn't wish to) provide such information. This paper attempts to help reconcile the gap between approaches to uncertainty and the needs of many AI systems by examining the control issues which arise, independent of a particular uncertainty calculus. when one tries to satisfy these needs. Truth Maintenance Systems have been used extensively in problem solving tasks to help organize a set of facts and detect inconsistencies in the believed state of the world. These systems maintain a set of true/false propositions and their associated dependencies. However, situations often arise in which we are unsure of certain facts or in which the conclusions we can draw from available information are somewhat uncertain. The non-monotonic TMS 12] was an attempt at reasoning when all the facts are not known, but it fails to take into account degrees of belief and how available evidence can combine to strengthen a particular belief. This paper addresses the problem of probabilistic reasoning as it applies to Truth Maintenance Systems. It describes a belief Maintenance System that manages a current set of beliefs in much the same way that a TMS manages a set of true/false propositions. If the system knows that belief in fact is dependent in some way upon belief in fact2, then it automatically modifies its belief in facts when new information causes a change in belief of fact2. It models the behavior of a TMS, replacing its 3-valued logic (true, false, unknown) with an infinite valued logic, in such a way as to reduce to a standard TMS if all statements are given in absolute true/false terms. Belief Maintenance Systems can, therefore, be thought of as a generalization of Truth Maintenance Systems, whose possible reasoning tasks are a superset of those for a TMS.
Keywords: Maintenance Systems
Pages: 125-131
PS Link:
PDF Link: /papers/86/p125-falkenhainer.pdf
AUTHOR = "Brian Falkenhainer ",
TITLE = "Towards A General-Purpose Belief Maintenance System",
BOOKTITLE = "Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence 2 Annual Conference on Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence (UAI-86)",
PUBLISHER = "Elsevier Science",
ADDRESS = "Amsterdam, NL",
YEAR = "1986",
PAGES = "125--131"

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