Issue No. 10 - October (2007 vol. 19)
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.
Bayesian networks, node probability tables, ranked nodes, probability elicitation, risk analysis
Martin Neil, Jose Galan Caballero, Norman E. Fenton, "Using Ranked Nodes to Model Qualitative Judgments in Bayesian Networks", IEEE Transactions on Knowledge & Data Engineering, vol. 19, no. , pp. 1420-1432, October 2007, doi:10.1109/TKDE.2007.1073