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Using Ranked Nodes to Model Qualitative Judgments in Bayesian Networks

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3 Author(s)

Although Bayesian Nets (BNs) are increasingly being used to solve real world risk problems, their use is still constrained by the difficulty of constructing the node probability tables (NPTs). A key challenge is to construct relevant NPTs using the minimal amount of expert elicitation, recognising that it is rarely cost-effective to elicit complete sets of probability values. We describe a simple approach to defining NPTs for a large class of commonly occurring nodes (called ranked nodes). The approach is based on the doubly truncated Normal distribution with a central tendency that is invariably a type of weighted function of the parent nodes. In extensive real-world case studies we have found that this approach is sufficient for generating the NPTs of a very large class of nodes. We describe one such case study for validation purposes. The approach has been fully automated in a commercial tool, called AgenaRisk, and is thus accessible to all types of domain experts. We believe this work represents a useful contribution to BN research and technology since its application makes the difference between being able to build realistic BN models and not.

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Knowledge and Data Engineering, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:19 ,  Issue: 10 )