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SHAPES: A Novel Approach for Learning Search Heuristics in Under-Constrained Optimization Problems
September-October 1997 (vol. 9 no. 5)
pp. 731-746

Abstract—Although much research in machine learning has been carried out on acquiring knowledge for problem-solving in many problem domains, little effort has been focused on learning search-control knowledge for solving optimization problems. This paper reports on the development of SHAPES, a system that learns heuristic search guidance for solving optimization problems in intractable, under-constrained domains based on the Explanation-Based Learning (EBL) framework. The system embodies two new and novel approaches to machine learning. First, it makes use of explanations of varying levels of approximation as a mean for verifying heuristic-based decisions, allowing heuristic estimates to be revised and corrected during problem-solving. The provision of such a revision mechanism is particularly important when working in intractable and under-constrained domains, where heuristics tend to be highly over-generalized, and hence at times will give rise to incorrect results. Second, it employs a new linear and quadratic programming-based weight-assignment algorithm formulated to direct search toward optimal solutions under best-first search. The algorithm offers a direct method for assigning rule strengths and, in so doing, avoids the need to address the credit-assignment problem faced by other iterative weight-adjustment methods.

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Index Terms:
Explanation-Based Learning, heuristics, intractability, search, weight assignment.
Citation:
Khanh P.V. Doan, Kit Po Wong, "SHAPES: A Novel Approach for Learning Search Heuristics in Under-Constrained Optimization Problems," IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering, vol. 9, no. 5, pp. 731-746, Sept.-Oct. 1997, doi:10.1109/69.634752
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