Reasoning about Uncertainty

MIT Press
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Uncertainty is a fundamental and unavoidable feature of daily life; in order to deal with uncertaintly intelligently, we need to be able to represent it and reason about it. In this book, Joseph Halpern examines formal ways of representing uncertainty and considers various logics for reasoning about it. While the ideas presented are formalized in terms of definitions and theorems, the emphasis is on the philosophy of representing and reasoning about uncertainty; the material is accessible and relevant to researchers and students in many fields, including computer science, artificial intelligence, economics (particularly game theory), mathematics, philosophy, and statistics.

Halpern begins by surveying possible formal systems for representing uncertainty, including probability measures, possibility measures, and plausibility measures. He considers the updating of beliefs based on changing information and the relation to Bayes' theorem; this leads to a discussion of qualitative, quantitative, and plausibilistic Bayesian networks. He considers not only the uncertainty of a single agent but also uncertainty in a multi-agent framework. Halpern then considers the formal logical systems for reasoning about uncertainty. He discusses knowledge and belief; default reasoning and the semantics of default; reasoning about counterfactuals, and combining probability and counterfactuals; belief revision; first-order modal logic; and statistics and beliefs. He includes a series of exercises at the end of each chapter.

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Additional Information

Publisher
MIT Press
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Published on
Aug 12, 2005
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Pages
497
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ISBN
9780262263078
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Computers / Computer Science
Computers / Intelligence (AI) & Semantics
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Joseph Y. Halpern
Judea Pearl
Probabilistic Reasoning in Intelligent Systems is a complete and accessible account of the theoretical foundations and computational methods that underlie plausible reasoning under uncertainty. The author provides a coherent explication of probability as a language for reasoning with partial belief and offers a unifying perspective on other AI approaches to uncertainty, such as the Dempster-Shafer formalism, truth maintenance systems, and nonmonotonic logic.

The author distinguishes syntactic and semantic approaches to uncertainty--and offers techniques, based on belief networks, that provide a mechanism for making semantics-based systems operational. Specifically, network-propagation techniques serve as a mechanism for combining the theoretical coherence of probability theory with modern demands of reasoning-systems technology: modular declarative inputs, conceptually meaningful inferences, and parallel distributed computation. Application areas include diagnosis, forecasting, image interpretation, multi-sensor fusion, decision support systems, plan recognition, planning, speech recognition--in short, almost every task requiring that conclusions be drawn from uncertain clues and incomplete information.


Probabilistic Reasoning in Intelligent Systems will be of special interest to scholars and researchers in AI, decision theory, statistics, logic, philosophy, cognitive psychology, and the management sciences. Professionals in the areas of knowledge-based systems, operations research, engineering, and statistics will find theoretical and computational tools of immediate practical use. The book can also be used as an excellent text for graduate-level courses in AI, operations research, or applied probability.

Nick Bostrom
The human brain has some capabilities that the brains of other animals lack. It is to these distinctive capabilities that our species owes its dominant position. Other animals have stronger muscles or sharper claws, but we have cleverer brains. If machine brains one day come to surpass human brains in general intelligence, then this new superintelligence could become very powerful. As the fate of the gorillas now depends more on us humans than on the gorillas themselves, so the fate of our species then would come to depend on the actions of the machine superintelligence. But we have one advantage: we get to make the first move. Will it be possible to construct a seed AI or otherwise to engineer initial conditions so as to make an intelligence explosion survivable? How could one achieve a controlled detonation? To get closer to an answer to this question, we must make our way through a fascinating landscape of topics and considerations. Read the book and learn about oracles, genies, singletons; about boxing methods, tripwires, and mind crime; about humanity's cosmic endowment and differential technological development; indirect normativity, instrumental convergence, whole brain emulation and technology couplings; Malthusian economics and dystopian evolution; artificial intelligence, and biological cognitive enhancement, and collective intelligence. This profoundly ambitious and original book picks its way carefully through a vast tract of forbiddingly difficult intellectual terrain. Yet the writing is so lucid that it somehow makes it all seem easy. After an utterly engrossing journey that takes us to the frontiers of thinking about the human condition and the future of intelligent life, we find in Nick Bostrom's work nothing less than a reconceptualization of the essential task of our time.
Joseph Y. Halpern
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