[Jairsubscribers] 5 new articles published by JAIR

jair-ed@isi.edu jair-ed at isi.edu
Wed Nov 1 22:40:30 PDT 2017

Dear JAIR subscriber:
This message lists papers that have been recently published in JAIR and describes how to access them. (If you wish to remove yourself from this mailing list, see instructions at the end of this message.)

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I. New JAIR Articles

Nikolaos  Kariotoglou, Maryam  Kamgarpour, Tyler  H. Summers and John  Lygeros (2017)
  "The Linear Programming Approach to Reach-Avoid Problems for Markov Decision Processes",
   Volume 60, pages 263-285

   For quick access go to <http://www.jair.org/papers/paper5500.html>

One of the most fundamental problems  in Markov decision processes is analysis and control synthesis for safety and reachability specifications. We consider the stochastic reach-avoid problem, in which the objective is to synthesize a control policy to maximize the probability of reaching a target set at a given time, while staying in a safe set at all prior times.  We characterize  the solution to this problem through an infinite dimensional linear program. We then develop a tractable approximation to the infinite dimensional linear program through finite dimensional approximations of the decision space and constraints. For a large class of Markov decision processes modeled by Gaussian mixtures kernels we show that through a proper selection of the finite dimensional space, one can further reduce the computational complexity of the resulting linear program. We validate the proposed method and analyze its potential with numerical case studies.

William  Lam, Kalev  Kask, Javier  Larrosa and Rina  Dechter (2017)
  "Residual-Guided Look-Ahead in AND/OR Search for Graphical Models",
   Volume 60, pages 287-346

   For quick access go to <http://www.jair.org/papers/paper5475.html>

We introduce the concept of local bucket error for the mini-bucket heuristics and show how it can be used to improve the power of AND/OR search for combinatorial optimization tasks in graphical models (e.g. MAP/MPE or weighted CSPs). The local bucket error illuminates how the heuristic errors are distributed in the search space, guided by the mini-bucket heuristic. We present and analyze methods for compiling the local bucket-errors (exactly and approximately) and show that they can be used to yield an effective tool for balancing look-ahead overhead during search. This can be especially instrumental when memory is restricted, accommodating the generation of only weak compiled heuristics. We illustrate the impact of the proposed schemes in an extensive empirical evaluation for both finding exact solutions and anytime suboptimal solutions.

Thomas  Eiter and Antonius  Weinzierl (2017)
  "Preference-Based Inconsistency Management in Multi-Context Systems",
   Volume 60, pages 347-424

   For quick access go to <http://www.jair.org/papers/paper5416.html>

Multi-Context Systems (MCS) are a powerful framework for interlinking possibly heterogeneous, autonomous knowledge bases, where information can be exchanged among knowledge bases by designated bridge rules with negation as failure. An acknowledged issue with MCS is inconsistency that arises due to the information exchange. To remedy this problem, inconsistency removal has been proposed in terms of repairs, which modify bridge rules based on suitable notions for diagnosis of inconsistency. In general, multiple diagnoses and repairs do exist; this leaves the user, who arguably may oversee the inconsistency removal, with the task of selecting some repair among all possible ones. To aid in this regard, we extend the MCS framework with preference information for diagnoses, such that undesired diagnoses are filtered out and diagnoses that are most preferred according to a preference ordering are selected. We consider preference information at a generic level and develop meta-reasoning techniques on diagnoses in MCS that can be exploited to reduce preference-based selection of diagnoses to computing ordinary subset-minimal diagnoses in an extended MCS. We describe two meta-reasoning encodings for preference orders: the first is conceptually simple but may incur an exponential blowup. The second is increasing only linearly in size and based on duplicating the original MCS. The latter requires nondeterministic guessing if a subset-minimal among all most preferred diagnoses should be computed. However, a complexity analysis of diagnoses shows that this is worst-case optimal, and that in general, preferred diagnoses have the same complexity as subset-minimal ordinary diagnoses. Furthermore, (subset-minimal) filtered diagnoses and (subset-minimal) ordinary diagnoses also have the same complexity.

Peng  Yu, Brian  Williams, Cheng  Fang, Jing  Cui and Patrik  Haslum (2017)
  "Resolving Over-Constrained Temporal Problems with Uncertainty through Conflict-Directed Relaxation",
   Volume 60, pages 425-490

   For quick access go to <http://www.jair.org/papers/paper5431.html>

Over-subscription, that is, being assigned too many things to do, is commonly encountered in temporal scheduling problems. As human beings, we often want to do more than we can actually do, and underestimate how long it takes to perform each task. Decision makers can benefit from aids that identify when these failure situations are likely, the root causes of these failures, and resolutions to these failures.

In this paper, we present a decision assistant that helps users resolve over-subscribed temporal problems. The system works like an experienced advisor that can quickly identify the cause of failure underlying temporal problems and compute resolutions. The core of the decision assistant is the Best-first Conflict-Directed Relaxation (BCDR) algorithm, which can detect conflicting sets of constraints within temporal problems, and computes continuous relaxations for them that weaken constraints to the minimum extent, instead of removing them completely. BCDR is an extension to the Conflict-Directed A* algorithm, first developed in the model-based reasoning community to compute most likely system diagnoses or reconfigurations. It generalizes the discrete conflicts and relaxations, to hybrid conflicts and relaxations, which denote minimal inconsistencies and minimal relaxations to both discrete and continuous relaxable constraints. In addition, BCDR is capable of handling temporal uncertainty, expressed as either set-bounded or probabilistic durations, and can compute preferred trade-offs between the risk of violating a schedule requirement, versus the loss of utility by weakening those requirements.

BCDR has been applied to several decision support applications in different domains, including deep-sea exploration, urban travel planning and transit system management. It has demonstrated its effectiveness in helping users resolve over-subscribed scheduling problems and evaluate the robustness of existing solutions. In our benchmark experiments, BCDR has also demonstrated its efficiency on solving large-scale scheduling problems in the aforementioned domains. Thanks to its conflict-driven approach for computing relaxations, BCDR achieves one to two orders of magnitude improvements on runtime performance when compared to state-of-the-art numerical solvers.

Yuu  Jinnai and Alex  Fukunaga (2017)
  "On Hash-Based Work Distribution Methods for Parallel Best-First Search",
   Volume 60, pages 491-548

   For quick access go to <http://www.jair.org/papers/paper5225.html>

Parallel best-first search algorithms such as Hash Distributed A* (HDA*) distribute work among the processes using a global hash function. We analyze the search and communication overheads of state-of-the-art hash-based parallel best-first search algorithms, and show that although Zobrist hashing, the standard hash function used by HDA*, achieves good load balance for many domains, it incurs significant communication overhead since almost all generated nodes are transferred to a different processor than their parents. We propose Abstract Zobrist hashing, a new work distribution method for parallel search which, instead of computing a hash value based on the raw features of a state, uses a feature projection function to generate a set of abstract features which results in a higher locality, resulting in reduced communications overhead. We show that Abstract Zobrist hashing outperforms previous methods on search domains using hand-coded, domain specific feature projection functions. We then propose GRAZHDA*, a graph-partitioning based approach to automatically generating feature projection functions. GRAZHDA* seeks to approximate the partitioning of the actual search space graph by partitioning the domain transition graph, an abstraction of the state space graph. We show that GRAZHDA* outperforms previous methods on domain-independent planning.

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