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Inference in probabilistic logic programs with continuous random variables

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 September 2012

Department of Computer Science, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794 (e-mail:,,
Department of Computer Science, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794 (e-mail:,,
Department of Computer Science, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794 (e-mail:,,


Probabilistic Logic Programming (PLP), exemplified by Sato and Kameya's PRISM, Poole's ICL, Raedt et al.'s ProbLog and Vennekens et al.'s LPAD, is aimed at combining statistical and logical knowledge representation and inference. However, the inference techniques used in these works rely on enumerating sets of explanations for a query answer. Consequently, these languages permit very limited use of random variables with continuous distributions. In this paper, we present a symbolic inference procedure that uses constraints and represents sets of explanations without enumeration. This permits us to reason over PLPs with Gaussian or Gamma-distributed random variables (in addition to discrete-valued random variables) and linear equality constraints over reals. We develop the inference procedure in the context of PRISM; however the procedure's core ideas can be easily applied to other PLP languages as well. An interesting aspect of our inference procedure is that PRISM's query evaluation process becomes a special case in the absence of any continuous random variables in the program. The symbolic inference procedure enables us to reason over complex probabilistic models such as Kalman filters and a large subclass of Hybrid Bayesian networks that were hitherto not possible in PLP frameworks.

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