Tag Archives: Hierarchies Of Abstraction

A general model of abstraction of graphs

Christer Bäckström, Peter Jonsson, A framework for analysing state-abstraction methods, Artificial Intelligence, Volume 302, 2022 DOI: 10.1016/j.artint.2021.103608.

Abstraction has been used in combinatorial search and action planning from the very beginning of AI. Many different methods and formalisms for state abstraction have been proposed in the literature, but they have been designed from various points of view and with varying purposes. Hence, these methods have been notoriously difficult to analyse and compare in a structured way. In order to improve upon this situation, we present a coherent and flexible framework for modelling abstraction (and abstraction-like) methods based on graph transformations. The usefulness of the framework is demonstrated by applying it to problems in both search and planning. We model six different abstraction methods from the planning literature and analyse their intrinsic properties. We show how to capture many search abstraction concepts (such as avoiding backtracking between levels) and how to put them into a broader context. We also use the framework to identify and investigate connections between refinement and heuristics—two concepts that have usually been considered as unrelated in the literature. This provides new insights into various topics, e.g. Valtorta’s theorem and spurious states. We finally extend the framework with composition of transformations to accommodate for abstraction hierarchies, and other multi-level concepts. We demonstrate the latter by modelling and analysing the merge-and-shrink abstraction method.

Automatic hierarchization for the recognition of places in images

Chen Fan, Zetao Chen, Adam Jacobson, Xiaoping Hu, Michael Milford, Biologically-inspired visual place recognition with adaptive multiple scales,Robotics and Autonomous Systems, Volume 96, 2017, Pages 224-237, DOI: 10.1016/j.robot.2017.07.015.

In this paper we present a novel adaptive multi-scale system for performing visual place recognition. Unlike recent previous multi-scale place recognition systems that use manually pre-fixed scales, we present a system that adaptively selects the spatial scales. This approach differs from previous multi-scale methods, where place recognition is performed through a non-optimized distance metric in a fixed and pre-determined scale space. Instead, we learn an optimized distance metric which creates a new recognition space for clustering images with similar features while separating those with different features. Consequently, the method exploits the natural spatial scales present in the operating environment. With these adaptive scales, a hierarchical recognition mechanism with multiple parallel channels is then proposed. Each channel performs place recognition from a coarse match to a fine match. We present specific techniques for training each channel to recognize places at varying spatial scales and for combining the place recognition hypotheses from these parallel channels. We also conduct a systematic series of experiments and parameter studies that determine the effect on performance of using different numbers of combined recognition channels. The results demonstrate that the adaptive multi-scale approach outperforms the previous fixed multi-scale approach and is capable of producing better than state of the art performance compared to existing robotic navigation algorithms. The system complexity is linear in the number of places in the reference static map and can realize the online place recognition in mobile robotics on typical dataset sizes We analyze the results and provide theoretical analysis of the performance improvements. Finally, we discuss interesting insights gained with respect to future work in robotics and neuroscience in this area.

An interesting soft-partition method based on hierarchical graphs (trees, actually) applied to topic detection in documents

Peixian Chen, Nevin L. Zhang, Tengfei Liu, Leonard K.M. Poon, Zhourong Chen, Farhan Khawar, Latent tree models for hierarchical topic detection, Artificial Intelligence, Volume 250, 2017, Pages 105-124, DOI: 10.1016/j.artint.2017.06.004.

We present a novel method for hierarchical topic detection where topics are obtained by clustering documents in multiple ways. Specifically, we model document collections using a class of graphical models called hierarchical latent tree models (HLTMs). The variables at the bottom level of an HLTM are observed binary variables that represent the presence/absence of words in a document. The variables at other levels are binary latent variables that represent word co-occurrence patterns or co-occurrences of such patterns. Each latent variable gives a soft partition of the documents, and document clusters in the partitions are interpreted as topics. Latent variables at high levels of the hierarchy capture long-range word co-occurrence patterns and hence give thematically more general topics, while those at low levels of the hierarchy capture short-range word co-occurrence patterns and give thematically more specific topics. In comparison with LDA-based methods, a key advantage of the new method is that it represents co-occurrence patterns explicitly using model structures. Extensive empirical results show that the new method significantly outperforms the LDA-based methods in term of model quality and meaningfulness of topics and topic hierarchies.

Modelling hierarchical stochastic signals (i.e., decomposable into sub-signals hierarchichally)

Truyen Tran, Dinh Phung, Hung Bui, Svetha Venkatesh, Hierarchical semi-Markov conditional random fields for deep recursive sequential data, Artificial Intelligence, Volume 246, May 2017, Pages 53-85, ISSN 0004-3702, DOI: 10.1016/j.artint.2017.02.003.

We present the hierarchical semi-Markov conditional random field (HSCRF), a generalisation of linear-chain conditional random fields to model deep nested Markov processes. It is parameterised as a conditional log-linear model and has polynomial time algorithms for learning and inference. We derive algorithms for partially-supervised learning and constrained inference. We develop numerical scaling procedures that handle the overflow problem. We show that when depth is two, the HSCRF can be reduced to the semi-Markov conditional random fields. Finally, we demonstrate the HSCRF on two applications: (i) recognising human activities of daily living (ADLs) from indoor surveillance cameras, and (ii) noun-phrase chunking. The HSCRF is capable of learning rich hierarchical models with reasonable accuracy in both fully and partially observed data cases.

Learning concepts from graphs in robotics, through first-order logic and discovery of subgraphs, forming arbitrary hierarchies

Ana C. Tenorio-González, Eduardo F. Morales, Automatic discovery of relational concepts by an incremental graph-based representation, Robotics and Autonomous Systems, Volume 83, 2016, Pages 1-14, ISSN 0921-8890, DOI: 10.1016/j.robot.2016.06.012.

Automatic discovery of concepts has been an elusive area in machine learning. In this paper, we describe a system, called ADC, that automatically discovers concepts in a robotics domain, performing predicate invention. Unlike traditional approaches of concept discovery, our approach automatically finds and collects instances of potential relational concepts. An agent, using ADC, creates an incremental graph-based representation with the information it gathers while exploring its environment, from which common sub-graphs are identified. The subgraphs discovered are instances of potential relational concepts which are induced with Inductive Logic Programming and predicate invention. Several concepts can be induced concurrently and the learned concepts can form arbitrarily hierarchies. The approach was tested for learning concepts of polygons, furniture, and floors of buildings with a simulated robot and compared with concepts suggested by users.

A new theoretical framework for modeling concepts that allows them to combine reflecting the way humans do, with a good related-work on other concept frameworks in AI

Martha Lewis, Jonathan Lawry, Hierarchical conceptual spaces for concept combination, Artificial Intelligence, Volume 237, August 2016, Pages 204-227, ISSN 0004-3702, DOI: 10.1016/j.artint.2016.04.008.

We introduce a hierarchical framework for conjunctive concept combination based on conceptual spaces and random set theory. The model has the flexibility to account for composition of concepts at various levels of complexity. We show that the conjunctive model includes linear combination as a special case, and that the more general model can account for non-compositional behaviours such as overextension, non-commutativity, preservation of necessity and impossibility of attributes and to some extent, attribute loss or emergence. We investigate two further aspects of human concept use, the conjunction fallacy and the “guppy effect”.

Interesting hypothesis about how cognitive abilities can be modelled with closed control loops that run in parallel -using hierarchies of abstraction and prediction-, traditionally used just for low-level behaviours

Giovanni Pezzulo, Paul Cisek, Navigating the Affordance Landscape: Feedback Control as a Process Model of Behavior and Cognition, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Volume 20, Issue 6, June 2016, Pages 414-424, ISSN 1364-6613, DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2016.03.013.

We discuss how cybernetic principles of feedback control, used to explain sensorimotor behavior, can be extended to provide a foundation for understanding cognition. In particular, we describe behavior as parallel processes of competition and selection among potential action opportunities (‘affordances’) expressed at multiple levels of abstraction. Adaptive selection among currently available affordances is biased not only by predictions of their immediate outcomes and payoffs but also by predictions of what new affordances they will make available. This allows animals to purposively create new affordances that they can later exploit to achieve high-level goals, resulting in intentional action that links across multiple levels of control. Finally, we discuss how such a ‘hierarchical affordance competition’ process can be mapped to brain structure.