Belief Integration and Source Reliability Assessment

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Abstract

Merging beliefs requires the plausibility of the sources of the information to be merged. They are typically assumed equally reliable when nothing suggests otherwise. A recent line of research has spun from the idea of deriving this information from the revision process itself. In particular, the history of previous revisions and previous merging examples provide information for performing subsequent merging operations.

Yet, no examples or previous revisions may be available. In spite of the apparent lack of information, something can still be inferred by a try-and-check approach: a relative reliability ordering is assumed, the sources are integrated according to it and the result is compared with the original information. The final check may contradict the original ordering, like when the result of merging implies the negation of a formula coming from a source initially assumed reliable, or it implies a formula coming from a source assumed unreliable. In such cases, the reliability ordering assumed in the first place can be excluded from consideration.

Such a scenario is proved real under the classifications of source reliability and definitions of belief integration considered in this article: sources divided in two, three or multiple reliability classes; integration is mostly by maximal consistent subsets but also weighted distance is considered. Other results mainly concern the integration by maximal consistent subsets and partitions of two and three reliability classes.

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