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  1. Abstract Statistical relational learning (SRL) frameworks are effective at defining probabilistic models over complex relational data. They often use weighted first-order logical rules where the weights of the rules govern probabilistic interactions and are usually learned from data. Existing weight learning approaches typically attempt to learn a set of weights that maximizes some function of data likelihood; however, this does not always translate to optimal performance on a desired domain metric, such as accuracy or F1 score. In this paper, we introduce a taxonomy of search-based weight learning approaches for SRL frameworks that directly optimize weights on a chosen domain performance metric. To effectively apply these search-based approaches, we introduce a novel projection, referred to as scaled space (SS), that is an accurate representation of the true weight space. We show that SS removes redundancies in the weight space and captures the semantic distance between the possible weight configurations. In order to improve the efficiency of search, we also introduce an approximation of SS which simplifies the process of sampling weight configurations. We demonstrate these approaches on two state-of-the-art SRL frameworks: Markov logic networks and probabilistic soft logic. We perform empirical evaluation on five real-world datasets and evaluate them eachmore »on two different metrics. We also compare them against four other weight learning approaches. Our experimental results show that our proposed search-based approaches outperform likelihood-based approaches and yield up to a 10% improvement across a variety of performance metrics. Further, we perform an extensive evaluation to measure the robustness of our approach to different initializations and hyperparameters. The results indicate that our approach is both accurate and robust.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 13, 2022
  2. Causal inference is at the heart of empirical research in natu- ral and social sciences and is critical for scientific discovery and informed decision making. The gold standard in causal inference is performing randomized controlled trials; unfortu- nately these are not always feasible due to ethical, legal, or cost constraints. As an alternative, methodologies for causal inference from observational data have been developed in sta- tistical studies and social sciences. However, existing meth- ods critically rely on restrictive assumptions such as the study population consisting of homogeneous elements that can be represented in a single flat table, where each row is referred to as a unit. In contrast, in many real-world set- tings, the study domain naturally consists of heterogeneous elements with complex relational structure, where the data is naturally represented in multiple related tables. In this paper, we present a formal framework for causal inference from such relational data. We propose a declarative language called CaRL for capturing causal background knowledge and assumptions, and specifying causal queries using simple Datalog-like rules. CaRL provides a foundation for infer- ring causality and reasoning about the effect of complex interventions in relational domains. We present an extensive experimental evaluation on real relationalmore »data to illustrate the applicability of CaRL in social sciences and healthcare.« less