Local Geometry of Multiattribute Tradeoff Preferences

Unknown author (2007-02-01)

PhD thesis

Existing preference reasoning systems have been successful insimple domains. Broader success requires more natural and moreexpressive preference representations. This thesis develops arepresentation of logical preferences that combines numericaltradeoff ratios between partial outcome descriptions withqualitative preference information. We argue our system is uniqueamong preference reasoning systems; previous work has focused onqualitative or quantitative preferences, tradeoffs, exceptions andgeneralizations, or utility independence, but none have combinedall of these expressions under a unified methodology.We present new techniques for representing and giving meaning toquantitative tradeoff statements between different outcomes. Thetradeoffs we consider can be multi-attribute tradeoffs relatingmore than one attribute at a time, they can refer to discrete orcontinuous domains, be conditional or unconditional, andquantified or qualitative. We present related methods ofrepresenting judgments of attribute importance. We then buildupon a methodology for representing arbitrary qualitative ceteris paribuspreference, or preferences ``other things being equal," aspresented in MD04. Tradeoff preferences inour representation are interpreted as constraints on the partialderivatives of the utility function. For example, a decision makercould state that ``Color is five times as important as price,availability, and time," a sentiment one might express in thecontext of repainting a home, and this is interpreted asindicating that utility increases in the positive color directionfive times faster than utility increases in the positive pricedirection. We show that these representations generalize both theeconomic notion of marginal rates of substitution and previousrepresentations of preferences in AI.