Towards Better Performance in the Face of Input Uncertainty while Maintaining Interpretability in AI

Pekaslan, Direnc (2021) Towards Better Performance in the Face of Input Uncertainty while Maintaining Interpretability in AI. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Uncertainty is a pervasive element of many real-world applications and very often existing sources of uncertainty (e.g. atmospheric conditions, economic parameters or precision of measurement devices) have a detrimental impact on the input and ultimately results of decision-support systems. Thus, the ability to handle input uncertainty is a valuable component of real-world decision-support systems. There is a vast amount of literature on handling of uncertainty through decision-support systems. While they handle uncertainty and deliver a good performance, providing an insight into the decision process (e.g. why or how results are produced) is another important asset in terms of having trust in or providing a ‘debugging’ process in given decisions.

Fuzzy set theory provides the basis for Fuzzy Logic Systems which are often associated with the ability for handling uncertainty and possessing mechanisms for providing a degree of interpretability. Specifically, Non-Singleton Fuzzy Logic Systems are essential in dealing with uncertainty that affects input which is one of the main sources of uncertainty in real-world systems. Therefore, in this thesis, we comprehensively explore enhancing non-singleton fuzzy logic systems capabilities considering both capturing-handling uncertainty and also maintaining interpretability. To that end the following three key aspects are investigated; (i) to faithfully map input uncertainty to outputs of systems, (ii) to propose a new framework to provide the ability for dynamically adapting system on-the-fly in changing real-world environments. (iii) to maintain level of interpretability while leveraging performance of systems.

The first aspect is to leverage mapping uncertainty from input to outputs of systems through the interaction between input and antecedent fuzzy sets i.e. firing strengths. In the context of Non-Singleton Fuzzy Logic Systems, recent studies have shown that the standard technique for determining firing strengths risks information loss in terms of the interaction of the input uncertainty and antecedent fuzzy sets. This thesis explores and puts forward novel approaches to generating firing strengths which faithfully map the uncertainty affecting system inputs to outputs. Time-series forecasting experiments are used to evaluate the proposed alternative firing strength generating technique under different levels of input uncertainty. The analysis of the results shows that the proposed approach can also be a suitable method to generate appropriate firing levels which provide the ability to map different uncertainty levels from input to output of FLS that are likely to occur in real-world circumstances.

The second aspect is to provide dynamic adaptive behaviours to systems at run-time in changing conditions which are common in real-world environments. Traditionally, in the fuzzification step of Non-Singleton Fuzzy Logic Systems, approaches are generally limited to the selection of a single type of input fuzzy sets to capture the input uncertainty, whereas input uncertainty levels tend to be inherently varying over time in the real-world at run-time. Thus, in this thesis, input uncertainty is modelled -where it specifically arises- in an online manner which can provide an adaptive behaviour to capture varying input uncertainty levels. The framework is presented to generate Type-1 or Interval Type-2 input fuzzy sets, called ADaptive Online Non-singleton fuzzy logic System (ADONiS). In the proposed framework, an uncertainty estimation technique is utilised on a sequence of observations to continuously update the input fuzzy sets of non-singleton fuzzy logic systems. Both the type-1 and interval type-2 versions of the ADONiS frameworks remove the limitation of the selection of a specific type of input fuzzy sets. Also this framework enables input fuzzy sets to be adapted to unknown uncertainty levels which is not perceived at the design stage of the model. Time-series forecasting experiments are implemented and results show that our proposed framework provides performance advantages over traditional counterpart approaches, particularly in environments that include high variation in noise levels, which are common in real-world applications. In addition, the real-world medical application study is designed to test the deployability of the ADONiS framework and to provide initial insight in respect to its viability in replacing traditional approaches.

The third aspect is to maintain levels of interpretability, while increasing performance of systems. When a decision-support model delivers a good performance, providing an insight of the decision process is also an important asset in terms of trustworthiness, safety and ethical aspects etc. Fuzzy logic systems are considered to possess mechanisms which can provide a degree of interpretability. Traditionally, while optimisation procedures provide performance benefits in fuzzy logic systems, they often cause alterations in components (e.g. rule set, parameters, or fuzzy partitioning structures) which can lead to higher accuracy but commonly do not consider the interpretability of the resulting model. In this thesis, the state of the art in fuzzy logic systems interpretability is advanced by capturing input uncertainty in the fuzzification -where it arises- and by handling it the inference engine step. In doing so, while the performance increase is achieved, the proposed methods limit any optimisation impact to the fuzzification and inference engine steps which protects key components of FLSs (e.g. fuzzy sets, rule parameters etc.) and provide the ability to maintain the given level of interpretability.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Wagner, Christian
Garibaldi, Jonathan M.
Keywords: Fuzzy Logic Systems, Uncertainty, Interpretability, XAI, artificial intelligence
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA150 Algebra
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Science > School of Computer Science
Item ID: 66082
Depositing User: Pekaslan, Direnc
Date Deposited: 31 Dec 2021 04:40
Last Modified: 31 Dec 2022 04:30

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