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Title: Semantic enhanced argumentation based group decision making for complex problems
Author: Jia, Haibo
Awarding Body: Glasgow Caledonian University
Current Institution: Glasgow Caledonian University
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis is concerned with issues ansmg from group argumentation based decision making support. An investigation was carried out into the semantic representation of argumentation schema ontology and the influence of it on decision making support problem. Previous research has shown argumentation as a process of communication and reasoning is a powerful way of discovering the structure and identifying various aspects of ill structured problems. The literature review revealed that many researchers have covered different aspects of representing and evaluating argumentation for decision making purpose, however there is no clearly defined comprehensive conceptual group argumentation framework for decision making support. In most cases, group argumentation and decision making are regarded as separate processes which cause difficulty to fully integrate the argumentation process with the decision making process. In this thesis, the main elements of group argumentation and decision making are identified. A new conceptual framework is designed to glue those two sets of elements together to support decision making fully using argumentation approach. In order to better integrate different sources of argumentative information, a semantic based approach is employed to model argumentative schema ontology. The design of this ontology not only considers the basic discussion and group interaction concepts, but also the notion of strength of the claim and pro/cons argument and different argument types from practical view and epistemic view. In this research, the semantic support is not only constrained to the structure of the argumentation but also to the topic of argumentation content. The experiment has shown the semantic topic annotation of utterances can facilitate the intelligent agent to discover, retrieve and map related 2 information which can bring some new benefits for supporting decision making such as better presenting the perspectives of decision problems, automatically identifying the criteria for evaluating solution, modelling and updating experts' credibility in the topic level etc. Different from a fully automatic or manual semantic annotation approach, a middle way solution for semantic annotation is proposed which allows users to manually label the content with a simple keyword and then automatically conceptualize the keyword using the formal ontological term querying from the cross domain ontology knowledge base -DBpedia. Based on the designed framework and semantics of the defined argumentative ontology, a prototype agent based distributed group argumentation system for decision making was developed. This prototype system, acting as a test bed, was used in a group argumentation experiment to test the proposed hypothesis. The experiment result was gathered from observation and users' experience based on the questionnaire. The analysis of the result indicates that this semantic enhanced group argumentation based decision making approach not only can advise the solution route for a decision task with a high degree of user satisfaction but also can present more perspectives of the decision problems which can enable an iterative process of problem solving. It is consistent with the new vision of group decision making support. A metric based evaluation was conducted to compare our proposed approach with other related approaches from the different aspects regarding group argumentation based decision making support; the conclusion shows our approach not only share many common features with others, but also has many unique characteristics enhanced by the comprehensive argumentation model and semantic support which are essential for the new decision support paradigm. 3 It is considered that the expectations as given in the initial aims have been achieved. Existing methods either focus on the reasoning capability of the argumentation for the decision making or focus on the communicative capability of the argumentation for discovering different problem perspectives and iterating the problem solving process. In our proposed approach, a comprehensive argumentation ontology for argumentation structure and a semantic annotation mechanism to conceptualize the argumentative content are designed so that the semantic support can cover both argumentation structure level and content level, via which the system can better interpret and manage the information generated in the process of group argumentation and provide more semantic services such as argumentation process iteration, decision rationale reuse, decision problem discovery etc. The findings from this study may make a contribution to the development of new paradigm group decision making systems based on group argumentation. 4.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available