Qualitative Methods for Reasoning under Uncertainty


In this book Simon Parsons describes qualitative methods for reasoning under uncertainty, "uncertainty" being a catch-all term for various types of imperfect information. The advantage of qualitative methods is that they do not require precise numerical information. Instead, they work with abstractions such as interval values and information about how values change. The author does not invent completely new methods for reasoning under uncertainty but provides the means to create qualitative versions of existing methods. To illustrate this, he develops qualitative versions of probability theory, possibility theory, and the Dempster-Shafer theory of evidence.

According to Parsons, these theories are best considered complementary rather than exclusive. Thus the book supports the contention that rather than search for the one best method to handle all imperfect information, one should use whichever method best fits the problem. This approach leads naturally to the use of several different methods in the solution of a single problem and to the complexity of integrating the results problem to which qualitative methods provide a solution.

Table of Contents

  1. Preface
  2. Acknowledgments
  3. 1. Introduction
  4. 2. All about uncertainty
  5. 3. Quantitative methods for reasoning with imperfect information
  6. 4. Qualitative methods for reasoning with imperfect information
  7. 5. A framework for studying different methods
  8. 6. Using qualitative algebras
  9. 7. The theory of qualitative change
  10. 8. Further results in the theory of qualitative change
  11. 9. Implementing the qualitative approaches
  12. 10. Qualitative protein topology prediction
  13. 11. Summary and conclusions
  14. A:. Proofs of theorems
  15. B:. Conditional belief calculations
  16. Glossary
  17. References
  18. Index