Representing Aggregators in Relational Probabilistic Models


  • David Buchman University of British Columbia
  • David Poole University of British Columbia



We consider the problem of, given a probabilistic model on a set of random variables, how to add a new variable that depends on the other variables, without changing the original distribution. In particular, we consider relational models (such as Markov logic networks (MLNs)), where we cannot directly define conditional probabilities. In relational models, there may be an unbounded number of parents in the grounding, and conditional distributions need to be defined in terms of aggregators. The question we ask is whether and when it is possible to represent conditional probabilities at all in various relational models. Some aggregators have been shown to be representable by MLNs, by adding auxiliary variables; however it was unknown whether they could be defined without auxiliary variables. For other aggregators, it was not known whether they can be represented by MLNs at all. We obtained surprisingly strong negative results on the capability of flexible undirected relational models such as MLNs to represent aggregators without affecting the original model's distribution. We provide a map of what aspects of the models, including the use of auxiliary variables and quantifiers, result in the ability to represent various aggregators. In addition, we provide proof techniques which can be used to facilitate future theoretic results on relational models, and demonstrate them on relational logistic regression (RLR).




How to Cite

Buchman, D., & Poole, D. (2015). Representing Aggregators in Relational Probabilistic Models. Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 29(1).



AAAI Technical Track: Reasoning under Uncertainty