Statistical relational learning (SRL) is the area of machine learning that integrates both first-order logic and probabilistic graphical models. The advantage of these formalisms is that they can handle both uncertainty and structured/relational data. As a result, they are widely used in domains like social network analysis, biological data analysis, and natural language processing. Bayesian Logic Programs (BLPs), which integrate both first-order logic and Bayesian networks are a powerful SRL formalism developed in the recent past. In this proposal, we focus on applying BLPs to two real worlds tasks -- plan recognition and machine reading.
Plan recognition is the task of predicting an agent's top-level plans based on its observed actions. It is an abductive reasoning task that involves inferring cause from effect. In the first part of the proposal, we develop an approach to abductive plan recognition using BLPs.
Since BLPs employ logical deduction to construct the networks, they cannot be used effectively for plan recognition as is. Therefore, we extend BLPs to use logical abduction to construct Bayesian networks and call the resulting model Bayesian Abductive Logic Programs (BALPs). Experimental evaluation on three benchmark data sets demonstrate that BALPs outperform the existing state-of-art methods like Markov Logic Networks (MLNs) for plan recognition.
For future work, we propose to apply BLPs to the task of machine reading, which involves automatic extraction of knowledge from natural language text. Present day information extraction (IE) systems that are trained for machine reading are limited by their ability to extract only factual information that is stated explicitly in the text. We propose to improve the performance of an off-the-shelf IE system by inducing general knowledge rules about the domain using the facts already extracted by the IE system. We then use these rules to infer additional facts using BLPs, thereby improving the recall of the underlying IE system. Here again, the standard inference used in BLPs cannot be used to construct the networks. So, we extend BLPs to perform forward inference on all facts extracted by the IE system and then construct the ground Bayesian networks. We initially use an existing inductive logic programming (ILP) based rule learner to learn the rules. In the longer term, we would like to develop a rule/structure learner that is capable of learning an even better set of first-order rules for BLPs.
Technical Report, PhD proposal, Department of Computer Science, The University of Texas at Austin, May 2011.