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A neural-symbolic system for temporal reasoning with application to model verification and learning

Borges, Rafael (2012). A neural-symbolic system for temporal reasoning with application to model verification and learning. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University London)


The effective integration of knowledge representation, reasoning and learning into a robust computational model is one of the key challenges in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence. In particular, temporal models have been fundamental in describing the behaviour of Computational and Neural-Symbolic Systems. Furthermore, knowledge acquisition of correct descriptions of the desired system’s behaviour is a complex task in several domains. Several efforts have been directed towards the development of tools that are capable of learning, describing and evolving software models.

This thesis contributes to two major areas of Computer Science, namely Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Software Engineering. Under an AI perspective, we present a novel neural-symbolic computational model capable of representing and learning temporal knowledge in recurrent networks. The model works in integrated fashion. It enables the effective representation of temporal knowledge, the adaptation of temporal models to a set of desirable system properties and effective learning from examples, which in turn can lead to symbolic temporal knowledge extraction from the corresponding trained neural networks. The model is sound, from a theoretical standpoint, but is also tested in a number of case studies.

An extension to the framework is shown to tackle aspects of verification and adaptation under the SE perspective. As regards verification, we make use of established techniques for model checking, which allow the verification of properties described as temporal models and return counter-examples whenever the properties are not satisfied. Our neural-symbolic framework is then extended to deal with different sources of information. This includes the translation of model descriptions into the neural structure, the evolution of such descriptions by the application of learning of counter examples, and also the learning of new models from simple observation of their behaviour.

In summary, we believe the thesis describes a principled methodology for temporal knowledge representation, learning and extraction, shedding new light on predictive temporal models, not only from a theoretical standpoint, but also with respect to a potentially large number of applications in AI, Neural Computation and Software Engineering, where temporal knowledge plays a fundamental role.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA76 Computer software
Departments: Doctoral Theses
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