Abstract: This paper addresses the problem of predicting the k events that are most likely to occur next, over historical real-time event streams. Existing approaches to causal prediction queries have a number of limitations. First, they exhaustively search over an acyclic causal network to find the most likely k effect events; however, data from real event streams frequently reflect cyclic causality. Second, they contain conservative assumptions intended to exclude all possible non-causal links in the causal network; it leads to the omission of many less-frequent but important causal links. We overcome these limitations by proposing a novel event precedence model and a run-time causal inference mechanism. The event precedence model constructs a first order absorbing Markov chain incrementally over event streams, where an edge between two events signifies a temporal precedence relationship between them, which is a necessary condition for causality. Then, the run-time causal inference mechanism learns causal relationships dynamically during query processing. This is done by removing some of the temporal precedence relationships that do not exhibit causality in the presence of other events in the event precedence model. This paper presents two query processing algorithms -- one performs exhaustive search on the model and the other performs a more efficient reduced search with early termination. Experiments using two real datasets (cascading blackouts in power systems and web page views) verify the effectiveness of the probabilistic top-k prediction queries and the efficiency of the algorithms. Specifically, the reduced search algorithm reduced runtime, relative to exhaustive search, by 25-80% (depending on the application) with only a small reduction in accuracy.
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Bongard's work focuses on understanding the general nature of cognition, regardless of whether it is found in humans, animals or robots. This unique approach focuses on the role that morphology and evolution plays in cognition. Addressing these questions has taken him into the fields of biology, psychology, engineering and computer science.
Danforth is an applied mathematician interested in modeling a variety of physical, biological, and social phenomenon. He has applied principles of chaos theory to improve weather forecasts as a member of the Mathematics and Climate Research Network, and developed a real-time remote sensor of global happiness using messages from Twitter: the Hedonometer. Danforth co-runs the Computational Story Lab with Peter Dodds, and helps run UVM's reading group on complexity.
Laurent studies the interaction of structure and dynamics. His research involves network theory, statistical physics and nonlinear dynamics along with their applications in epidemiology, ecology, biology, and sociology. Recent projects include comparing complex networks of different nature, the coevolution of human behavior and infectious diseases, understanding the role of forest shape in determining stability of tropical forests, as well as the impact of echo chambers in political discussions.
Hines' work broadly focuses on finding ways to make electric energy more reliable, more affordable, with less environmental impact. Particular topics of interest include understanding the mechanisms by which small problems in the power grid become large blackouts, identifying and mitigating the stresses caused by large amounts of electric vehicle charging, and quantifying the impact of high penetrations of wind/solar on electricity systems.
Bagrow's interests include: Complex Networks (community detection, social modeling and human dynamics, statistical phenomena, graph similarity and isomorphism), Statistical Physics (non-equilibrium methods, phase transitions, percolation, interacting particle systems, spin glasses), and Optimization(glassy techniques such as simulated/quantum annealing, (non-gradient) minimization of noisy objective functions).