The Society for Imprecise Probabilities:
Theories and Applications


The SIPTA blog started out in 2011 as a separate WordPress website and was integrated into the SIPTA website in 2021. Everyone in the SIPTA Community can contribute!

Interested in writing a blogpost for the imprecise probabilities community yourself? Then get in touch with our blog editors at Examples of possible contributions are reports on meetings, reviews of books or recent literature, interviews, software presentations, etcetera.

Each post on this blog is assigned to at least one of the following categories: BooksEvent ReportsInterviewsOtherSoftwareTheses & Topic Overviews.

An interview with Eyke Hüllermeier

Posted on April 11, 2024 in Interviews by Michele Caprio

A few weeks ago, Michele had a conversation with Eyke Hüllermeier about his exceptional career, the status of the field of Imprecise Probabilistic Machine Learning, and more. Please enjoy the interview below.

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Arianna Casanova's PhD thesis "Rationality and Desirability - A foundational study"

Posted on February 28, 2024 in Theses by Arianna Casanova Flores (edited by H. Diego Estrada-Lugo & Alexander Erreygers)

In my thesis, we further explore the potential of desirability theory, a very powerful uncertainty formalism developed within the context of imprecise probabilities, pursuing three primary research directions. Firstly, we provide joint foundations for the fields of social choice and probabilistic opinion pooling using desirability. This strategy offers a fresh perspective on traditional results in those fields and provides a tool for comparing their formulations. Secondly, we examine the relationship between desirability and information algebras. The latter are general algebraic structures introduced to manage information at an abstract level, providing general formulations of architectures for inference. This investigation reveals that desirability formally induces an instance of these structures, thereby offering a novel algebraic perspective on desirability and augmenting it with the inference machinery provided by information algebras. Thirdly, we explore relaxations of desirability’s foundational axioms to allow for a more realistic interpretation of its main tools. Specifically, we analyze different sets of axioms and reinterpret them as binary (usually nonlinear) classification problems. Drawing inspiration from machine learning, we define feature mappings that enable us to reformulate the aforementioned nonlinear classification problems as linear ones in higher-dimensional spaces.

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Dominik Hose’s PhD thesis on Possibilistic Reasoning with Imprecise Probabilities

Posted on April 11, 2023 in Theses by Dominik Hose (edited by Henna Bains)

On May 20th in 2022, I successfully defended my PhD thesis [1] entitled “Possibilistic Reasoning with Imprecise Probabilities: Statistical Inference and Dynamic Filtering”. This dissertation is the result of five wonderful years at the Institute of Engineering and Computational Mechanics at the University of Stuttgart under the enthusiastic supervision of my “Doktorvater” Michael Hanss. Apart from him, my committee was also composed of Scott Ferson and Ryan Martin—but we will get to that.

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Tathagata Basu’s PhD thesis on High dimensional statistical modelling under limited information

Posted on September 12, 2022 in Theses by Tathagata Basu (edited by Henna Bains)

After three years of research and extensive brainstorming with my supervisors; Jochen Einbeck and Matthias Troffaes, I finally defended my thesis on 15th December 2020. The thesis, entitled “High dimensional statistical modelling under limited information” was examined by Dr Hailiang Du and Dr Erik Quaghebeur in the presence of Dr Ostap Hryniv.

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An interview with Sébastien Destercke

Posted on July 7, 2022 in Interviews by Henna Bains

This blog is the first instalment in a new blog series where we interview members of the SIPTA community.

A few weeks ago, Henna had a conversation with Sébastien Destercke about his career so far, thoughts on imprecise probabilities, and more. Please enjoy the interview below.

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Imprecise Probabilities in Quantum Mechanics

Posted on April 26, 2022 in Topic Overviews by Alessio Benavoli (edited by Ignacio Montes)

I was glad when Ignacio Montes, SIPTA’s Executive Editor at the time, invited me to write a post on my research journey on Quantum Mechanics (QM), a journey undertaken together with Alessandro Facchini and Marco Zaffalon. Everything started with an article by Hans Christian von Baeyer, titled Quantum Weirdness? It’s All in Your Mind, published in Scientific American 2013. The article is about Quantum Bayesianism (QBism), a model of QM in which the wave function exists only as a mathematical tool employed by an agent to assign his or her personal belief that a quantum system will have a particular property.

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A report on "Inferential Models", a framework for prior-free imprecise-probabilistic inference

Posted on June 6, 2021 in Books by Ryan Martin (edited by Ignacio Montes)

The book Inferential Models develops a new framework for statistical inference, one that assumes no prior, but returns (something like) a posterior probability distribution that can be used for drawing inferences. Moreover, that probability-like output satisfies a strong calibration property, called validity, which, among other things, implies that procedures derived from it provably control frequentist error rates. How is this related to imprecise probability? Indeed, this is not a book about imprecise probability, but it turns out that the inferential model’s probability-like output must be imprecise in order to achieve the validity property. Therefore, random sets, belief/plausibility functions, etc., play an important role in the development of this theory of statistical inference.

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30 Years of Credal Networks

Posted on March 24, 2021 in Topic Overviews by Dennis Mauá and Fabio Cozman (edited by Ignacio Montes)

Credal networks combine the intuitive expressivity of graphs and the principled treatment and flexibility of imprecise probability to deliver a powerful framework for uncertainty management. Here, we briefly motivate the use of credal networks, provide a historical account of their development and present a commented bibliography on existing surveys and tutorials on the topic.

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Jasper De Bock’s PhD thesis on Credal Networks under Epistemic Irrelevance

Posted on March 9, 2016 in Theses by Jasper De Bock

On 13 May 2015, after four years of intensive research under the enthousiastic supervision of Gert de Cooman, I succesfully defended my PhD Thesis, entitled “Credal Networks under Epistemic Irrelevance: Theory and Algorithms”. The jury was composed of Fabio Cozman, Enrique Miranda, Serafín Moral, Joris Walraevens, Dirk Aeyels, Dries Benoit, Jan Van Campenhout and Rik Van de Walle. My dissertation presents a detailed study of credal networks under epistemic irrelevance, which are probabilistic graphical models that can compactly and intuitively represent the uncertainty that is associated with the key variables in some domain, and which can then be used to answer various domain-specific queries (compute inferences) that are of interest to the user. They share many of the nice features of Pearl’s celebrated Bayesian networks, but have the added advantage that they can represent uncertainty in a more flexible and realistic way.

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A report on WPMSIIP 2015

Posted on November 6, 2015 in Event Reports by Christoph Jansen and Julia Plass

The 8th Workshop on Principles and Methods of Statistical Inference with Interval Probability, organized by the working group “Foundations of Statistics and Their Applications” of the Department of Statistics and the “Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy (MCMP)” of the Department of Philosophy from the LMU Munich took place from the 1st to the 6th of September 2015 (actually we ended at the 5th, because unfortunately our excursion was cancelled because of bad weather forecast…).

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A report on ISIPTA 2015

Posted on November 2, 2015 in Event Reports by Serena Doria

The 9th International Symposium on Imprecise Probability: Theories and Applications was held from Monday 20 to Friday 24 July 2015 in the Italian city of Pescara. This conference was a result of the productive cooperation among the members of the Steering  Committee, formed by Thomas Augustin, Gert de Cooman, Enrique Miranda, Erik Quaeghebeur, Teddy Seidenfeld, and myself.  I wish to thank  the members of the Local Organizing Committee, Attilio Grilli, Mariangela Scorrano and Andrea Di Cencio for their valuable help and the Department of Engineering and Geology of the University G. d’Annunzio for its financial support.

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A report on the 6th SIPTA school on imprecise probabilities

Posted on January 5, 2015 in Event Reports by Enrique Miranda

The sixth SIPTA school on imprecise probabilities was held in the beautiful city of Montpellier (France), on July 21-25, 2014.The school was composed of twenty five participants, from no less than ten different coutnries. It was organized by Kevin Loquin from LIRMM in Montpellier, with the collaboration of Olivier Strauss, Erik Quaeghebeur and Enrique Miranda. The school was held in the beautiful botanic institute, built in the end of the nineteenth century, situated just next to the oldest french botanic garden.

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A report on the book ''Random sets and random fuzzy sets as ill-perceived random variables''

Posted on November 11, 2014 in Books by Inés Couso

Random sets and random fuzzy sets as ill-perceived random variables. An introduction for PhD students and practitioners, by Inés Couso, Didier Dubois and Luciano Sánchez. Springer Briefs in Applied Sciences and Technology, subcategories: Springer Briefs in Computational Intelligence. 2014. The notion of random set has been around for about 50 years, and has been considered rather independently by two sets of prominent authors. There are the works published in the mid-sixties by well-known economists like Aumann and Debreu on the integration of set-valued functions, followed by a full-fledged mathematical development by Kendall and Matheron.

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A report on WPMSIIP 2014

Posted on October 27, 2014 in Event Reports by Arthur Van Camp and Stavros Lopatatzidis

The 7th edition of the Workshop on Principles and Methods of Statistical Inference with Interval Probability (abbreviated as WPMSIIP in the most pronounceable way), organised by the SYSTeMS Research group of Ghent University, took place in Ghent from 8 until 12 September 2014. There were 17 participants from 6 countries. Every morning and afternoon had its own session in which 2 or 3 persons presented something about a specific topic, in order to stir up the debate, allowing for ample time to discuss and work together.

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Report on a workshop on Imprecise Probabilities in Statistics and Philosophy

Posted on July 30, 2014 in Event Reports by Seamus Bradley

A workshop on Imprecise Probabilities in Statistics and Philosophy took place at LMU Munich on the 27th and 28th of June. The workshop was co-organised by the Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy and the LMU statistics department. There were speakers from four continents, and a broad range of views in philosophy and statistics were represented. The conference was a great success and we hope that this leads to closer ties between the philosophy and statistics communities.

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Two New Books on Imprecise Probability Theories

Posted on July 17, 2014 in Books by Matthias C. M. Troffaes

Recently, two books have been published on imprecise probability theory. Lower Previsions: a monograph on said subject by myself and Gert de Cooman. Introduction to Imprecise Probabilities: a collection of contributed chapters on a wide range of topics, edited by Thomas Augustin, Frank Coolen, Gert de Cooman, and myself, with contributions from Joaquín Abellán, Alessandro Antonucci, Cassio P. de Campos, Giorgio Corani, Sébastien Destercke, Didier Dubois, Robert Hable, Filip Hermans, Nathan Huntley, Andrés Masegosa, Enrique Miranda, Serafín Moral, Michael Oberguggenberger, Erik Quaeghebeur, Glenn Shafer, Damjan Skulj, Michael Smithson, Lev Utkin, Gero Walter, Vladimir Vovk, Paolo Vicig, and Marco Zaffalon.

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Ignacio Montes’ PhD thesis on Comparison of alternatives under Uncertainty and imprecision

Posted on June 24, 2014 in Theses by Ignacio Montes

This thesis, supervised by Enrique Miranda and Susana Montes, was defended on May 16th. The jury was composed of Susana Díaz, Serafín Moral and Bernard De Baets. This thesis deals with the problem of comparing alternatives defined under some lack of information, that is considered to be either uncertainty, imprecision or both together.

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Andrea Wiencierz's PhD thesis on Regression analysis with imprecise data

Posted on April 24, 2014 in Theses by Andrea Wiencierz

My PhD thesis deals with the statistical problem of analyzing the relationship between a response variable and one or more explanatory variables when these quantities are only imprecisely observed. Regression methods are some of the most popular and commonly employed methods of statistical data analysis. Like most statistical tools, regression methods are usually based on the assumption that the analyzed data are precise and correct observations of the variables of interest. In statistical practice, however, often only incomplete or uncertain information about the data values is available.

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Improb: A Python library for lower previsions and decision making

Posted on April 14, 2014 in Software by Matthias C.M. Troffaes

Improb started in 2008 as a fairly small library for solving simple toy examples involving natural extension. The idea was to support exact rational calculations for lower previsions, by means of Komei Fukuda’s linear programming package cddlib. The very first incarnation of the library simply supported calculating the (unconditional) natural extension from any finite collection of assessments, and checking for avoiding sure loss and coherence. For about two years, not much happened with the code, until 2010.

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Software for credal classification

Posted on February 6, 2014 in Software by Giorgio Corani

A classifier is a statistical model of the relationship between the attributes (features) of an object and its category (class). Classifiers are learned from a training set and later are used on the test set to predict the class of a new object given its features. Credal classifiers extend traditional classifiers allowing for set-valued (or indeterminate) predictions of classes. The output set is typically larger when the data set is small or it contains many missing values. Credal classifiers aim at producing reliable classifications also in conditions of poor information. I am aware of only two software suitable for credal classification.

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Denis D. Mauá's PhD Thesis on Algorithms and Complexity Results for Discrete Probabilistic Reasoning Tasks

Posted on January 9, 2014 in Theses by Dennis D. Mauá

My PhD thesis is about connecting three hard computational problems that arise in tasks involving graph-based probabilistic reasoning, namely, the problems of maximum a posteriori (MAP) inference in Bayesian networks, planning with influence diagrams, and belief updating in credal networks under strong independence (or simply strong credal networks). Roughly speaking, in the MAP inference problem we seek the most probable explanation of a complex phenomena represented as a Bayesian network, a graph-based description of a multivariate joint probability distribution where nodes are identified with random variables and local conditional probability distributions.

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Alessandro Antonucci reports on WPMSIIP 2013

Posted on January 7, 2014 in Event Reports by Alessandro Antonucci

The sixth edition of WPMSIIP, the Workshop on Principles and Methods of Statistical Inference with Interval Probability was held in Lugano (Switzerland) between the first and the second week of September 2013. The workshop was a follow-up to previous editions, held in Durham (2008, 2010), Munich (2009, 2012), and Lublijana (2011). The 2013 edition was organized by the Imprecise Probability Group of IDSIA. About 25 participants from ten different countries attended the workshop.

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The Eighth International Symposium on Imprecise Probabilities: Theories and Applications (ISIPTA '13)

Posted on September 24, 2013 in Event Reports by Sebastien Destercke

The Eighth International Symposium on Imprecise Probabilities: Theories and Applications (ISIPTA ‘13) took place in the nice city of Compiègne, from July 2nd to July 5th. We have to thank Fabio Cozman, Thierry Denoeux, Teddy Seidenfeld (and myself) for the scientific organization, and Cédric Baudrit, Véronique Berger-Cherfaoui, Thierry Denoeux, Mylène Masson, Benjamin Quost, Mohamed Sallak (and myself) for the local organization. With the participants, they all contributed to make of this ISIPTA a very interesting and friendly meeting.

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SIPTA & Open Access

Posted on May 17, 2013 in Other by Erik Quaeghebeur

Dear colleagues, On Wednesday 15 May, I participated in the meeting ‘Open access versus Commercial Publishing’ organized by the maths and computer science section of the Dutch Royal Academy of Sciences. The speakers consisted of two clear proponents of Open Access, an Elsevier Senior VP presenting her Company’s efforts in the Open Access area, and somebody giving a more descriptive overview of the issues at hand. I found the meeting very interesting and I think the topic is relevant to all researchers.

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Report on WPMSIIP 2012: the fifth Workshop on Principles and Methods of Statistical Inference with Interval Probability

Posted on October 23, 2012 in Event Reports by Gero Walter

From September 10 to 15, the Working Group Methodological Foundations of Statistics and their Applications of the Department of Statistics at LMU Munich hosted the Fifth Workshop on Principles and Methods of Statistical Inference with Interval Probability in Munich. During one week, recent research in the field of Imprecise Probability Theory and the potential of imprecise methods to improve statistical analysis was vividly discussed by the workshop’s participants, who included international guests from the UK, France, Russia, Iran, Slovenia, Canada, and Switzerland.

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A brief report on ISIPTA 2011

Posted on October 3, 2011 in Event Reports by Enrique Miranda

The 7th International Symposium on Imprecise Probability: Theories and Applications was held in the beautiful city of Innsbruck (Austria), on July 25—28, 2011. It was organized by Frank Coolen, Gert de Cooman, Thomas Fetz and Michael Oberguggenberger, with the help in the local organization of Anna Bombasaro, Bernhard Schmelzer and Reinhard Stix. A total of 40 papers dealing with theoretical and practical aspects of imprecise probabilities were presented, both with a poster and with a short talk.

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