Broad Area Colloquium For AI-Geometry-Graphics-Robotics-Vision
Searching for the Actual Cause
Wednesday, May 10, 2000
talk begins 4:15PM
TCseq201, Lecture Hall B
Many problems in troubleshooting, legal decisions,
and natural language processing require one to
identify the "actual cause" of an event
in the context of a given scenario (as in: ``Socrates drinking hemlock
was the actual cause of Socrates death.'')
Following a brief review of counterfactuals and their
structural semantics, I will propose a formal account of
actual causation based on the notion
of "sustenance" -- the capacity of the cause to sustain
the effect despite certain "structural" changes in the model.
I will show by examples how this account avoids problems
associated with the counterfactual-dependence account of
Lewis (1986) and how it can be used
both in generating explanations of specific scenarios
and in computing the probabilities that such explanations
are in fact correct.
Parts of this talk are based on chapter 10 of
CAUSALITY (Cambridge U. Press, 2000),
on my IJCAI-99 Lecture (see http://www.cs.ucla.edu/~judea/)
and on recent joint work with J. Halpern.
About the Speaker
Judea Pearl is a Professor of Computer Science
and Statistics at UCLA where he is the Director of the
Cognitive Systems Laboratory.
He received the B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering
from the Technion, Haifa, Israel, in 1960; a Master
degree in Physics from Rutgers University, New Brunswick,
New Jersey, in 1965; and a Ph.D. degree in Electrical
Engineering from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn,
Brooklyn, NY in 1965.
Before coming to UCLA, he worked at RCA Research
Laboratories, Princeton, New Jersey, on
superconductive storage devices and magnetic memory systems. He
joined UCLA in 1970, and his current interests
include: knowledge representation, probabilistic and causal
reasoning, constraint processing, nonstandard logics,
distributed computation, and learning .
Pearl has published close
to 200 research articles
and is the author of three books: Heuristics (1984),
Probabilistic Reasoning in Intelligent Systems (1988),
and Causality: Models, Reasoning and Inference (2000).
He is a Member of the National Academy of Engineering, a
Fellow of the IEEE and the AAAI, and a recipient
of the IJCAI Research Excellence Award in
Artificial Intelligence (1999).
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Last modified: Fri Apr 28 12:05:26 PDT 2000