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Answering deep queries specified in natural language with respect to a frame based knowledge base and developing related natural language understanding components

Description

Question Answering has been under active research for decades, but it has recently taken the spotlight following IBM Watson's success in Jeopardy! and digital assistants such as Apple's Siri, Google Now, and Microsoft Cortana through every smart-phone and browser. However,

Question Answering has been under active research for decades, but it has recently taken the spotlight following IBM Watson's success in Jeopardy! and digital assistants such as Apple's Siri, Google Now, and Microsoft Cortana through every smart-phone and browser. However, most of the research in Question Answering aims at factual questions rather than deep ones such as ``How'' and ``Why'' questions.

In this dissertation, I suggest a different approach in tackling this problem. We believe that the answers of deep questions need to be formally defined before found.

Because these answers must be defined based on something, it is better to be more structural in natural language text; I define Knowledge Description Graphs (KDGs), a graphical structure containing information about events, entities, and classes. We then propose formulations and algorithms to construct KDGs from a frame-based knowledge base, define the answers of various ``How'' and ``Why'' questions with respect to KDGs, and suggest how to obtain the answers from KDGs using Answer Set Programming. Moreover, I discuss how to derive missing information in constructing KDGs when the knowledge base is under-specified and how to answer many factual question types with respect to the knowledge base.

After having the answers of various questions with respect to a knowledge base, I extend our research to use natural language text in specifying deep questions and knowledge base, generate natural language text from those specification. Toward these goals, I developed NL2KR, a system which helps in translating natural language to formal language. I show NL2KR's use in translating ``How'' and ``Why'' questions, and generating simple natural language sentences from natural language KDG specification. Finally, I discuss applications of the components I developed in Natural Language Understanding.

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Date Created
2015

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Bridging the gap between classical logic based formalisms and logic programs

Description

Different logic-based knowledge representation formalisms have different limitations either with respect to expressivity or with respect to computational efficiency. First-order logic, which is the basis of Description Logics (DLs), is not suitable for defeasible reasoning due to its monotonic nature.

Different logic-based knowledge representation formalisms have different limitations either with respect to expressivity or with respect to computational efficiency. First-order logic, which is the basis of Description Logics (DLs), is not suitable for defeasible reasoning due to its monotonic nature. The nonmonotonic formalisms that extend first-order logic, such as circumscription and default logic, are expressive but lack efficient implementations. The nonmonotonic formalisms that are based on the declarative logic programming approach, such as Answer Set Programming (ASP), have efficient implementations but are not expressive enough for representing and reasoning with open domains. This dissertation uses the first-order stable model semantics, which extends both first-order logic and ASP, to relate circumscription to ASP, and to integrate DLs and ASP, thereby partially overcoming the limitations of the formalisms. By exploiting the relationship between circumscription and ASP, well-known action formalisms, such as the situation calculus, the event calculus, and Temporal Action Logics, are reformulated in ASP. The advantages of these reformulations are shown with respect to the generality of the reasoning tasks that can be handled and with respect to the computational efficiency. The integration of DLs and ASP presented in this dissertation provides a framework for integrating rules and ontologies for the semantic web. This framework enables us to perform nonmonotonic reasoning with DL knowledge bases. Observing the need to integrate action theories and ontologies, the above results are used to reformulate the problem of integrating action theories and ontologies as a problem of integrating rules and ontologies, thus enabling us to use the computational tools developed in the context of the latter for the former.

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2012

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Representing and reasoning about goals and policies of agents

Description

Goal specification is an important aspect of designing autonomous agents. A goal does not only refer to the set of states for the agent to reach. A goal also defines restrictions on the paths the agent should follow. Temporal logics

Goal specification is an important aspect of designing autonomous agents. A goal does not only refer to the set of states for the agent to reach. A goal also defines restrictions on the paths the agent should follow. Temporal logics are widely used in goal specification. However, they lack the ability to represent goals in a non-deterministic domain, goals that change non-monotonically, and goals with preferences. This dissertation defines new goal specification languages by extending temporal logics to address these issues. First considered is the goal specification in non-deterministic domains, in which an agent following a policy leads to a set of paths. A logic is proposed to distinguish paths of the agent from all paths in the domain. In addition, to address the need of comparing policies for finding the best ones, a language capable of quantifying over policies is proposed. As policy structures of agents play an important role in goal specification, languages are also defined by considering different policy structures. Besides, after an agent is given an initial goal, the agent may change its expectations or the domain may change, thus goals that are previously specified may need to be further updated, revised, partially retracted, or even completely changed. Non-monotonic goal specification languages that can make these changes in an elaboration tolerant manner are needed. Two languages that rely on labeling sub-formulas and connecting multiple rules are developed to address non-monotonicity in goal specification. Also, agents may have preferential relations among sub-goals, and the preferential relations may change as agents achieve other sub-goals. By nesting a comparison operator with other temporal operators, a language with dynamic preferences is proposed. Various goals that cannot be expressed in other languages are expressed in the proposed languages. Finally, plans are given for some goals specified in the proposed languages.

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Date Created
2010

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Answer set programming and other computing paradigms

Description

Answer Set Programming (ASP) is one of the most prominent and successful knowledge representation paradigms. The success of ASP is due to its expressive non-monotonic modeling language and its efficient computational methods originating from building propositional satisfiability solvers. The wide

Answer Set Programming (ASP) is one of the most prominent and successful knowledge representation paradigms. The success of ASP is due to its expressive non-monotonic modeling language and its efficient computational methods originating from building propositional satisfiability solvers. The wide adoption of ASP has motivated several extensions to its modeling language in order to enhance expressivity, such as incorporating aggregates and interfaces with ontologies. Also, in order to overcome the grounding bottleneck of computation in ASP, there are increasing interests in integrating ASP with other computing paradigms, such as Constraint Programming (CP) and Satisfiability Modulo Theories (SMT). Due to the non-monotonic nature of the ASP semantics, such enhancements turned out to be non-trivial and the existing extensions are not fully satisfactory. We observe that one main reason for the difficulties rooted in the propositional semantics of ASP, which is limited in handling first-order constructs (such as aggregates and ontologies) and functions (such as constraint variables in CP and SMT) in natural ways. This dissertation presents a unifying view on these extensions by viewing them as instances of formulas with generalized quantifiers and intensional functions. We extend the first-order stable model semantics by by Ferraris, Lee, and Lifschitz to allow generalized quantifiers, which cover aggregate, DL-atoms, constraints and SMT theory atoms as special cases. Using this unifying framework, we study and relate different extensions of ASP. We also present a tight integration of ASP with SMT, based on which we enhance action language C+ to handle reasoning about continuous changes. Our framework yields a systematic approach to study and extend non-monotonic languages.

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Date Created
2013

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Towards efficient online reasoning about actions

Description

Modeling dynamic systems is an interesting problem in Knowledge Representation (KR) due to their usefulness in reasoning about real-world environments. In order to effectively do this, a number of different formalisms have been considered ranging from low-level languages, such as

Modeling dynamic systems is an interesting problem in Knowledge Representation (KR) due to their usefulness in reasoning about real-world environments. In order to effectively do this, a number of different formalisms have been considered ranging from low-level languages, such as Answer Set Programming (ASP), to high-level action languages, such as C+ and BC. These languages show a lot of promise over many traditional approaches as they allow a developer to automate many tasks which require reasoning within dynamic environments in a succinct and elaboration tolerant manner. However, despite their strengths, they are still insufficient for modeling many systems, especially those of non-trivial scale or that require the ability to cope with exceptions which occur during execution, such as unexpected events or unintended consequences to actions which have been performed. In order to address these challenges, a theoretical framework is created which focuses on improving the feasibility of applying KR techniques to such problems. The framework is centered on the action language BC+, which integrates many of the strengths of existing KR formalisms, and provides the ability to perform efficient reasoning in an incremental fashion while handling exceptions which occur during execution. The result is a developer friendly formalism suitable for performing reasoning in an online environment. Finally, the newly enhanced Cplus2ASP 2 is introduced, which provides a number of improvements over the original version. These improvements include implementing BC+ among several additional languages, providing enhanced developer support, and exhibiting a significant performance increase over its predecessors and similar systems.

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Date Created
2014