Post-clustering Prioritization Framework for Autonomous Decision Making in the Absence of Ground Truth via Hypothetical Probing

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Published Feb 20, 2024
Wolfgang Fink
Karm Al Hajhog

Abstract

A generic prioritization framework is introduced for addressing the problem of automated prioritization of region of interest or target selection. The framework is based on the assumption that clustering of preliminary data for preidentified regions or targets of interest within an operational area has already occurred, i.e., post-classification, and that the clustering quality can be expressed as an energy/objective function. Region or target of interest prioritization then means to rank regions or targets of interest according to their probability of changing the energy/objective function value upon subsequent hypothetical probing as opposed to actually conducted reexamination, i.e., thorough follow-up or in-situ measurements. The mathematical formalism for calculating these probabilities to contribute to this change of the energy/objective function value is introduced and validated through numerical simulations. Moreover, these probabilities can also be understood as a confidence-check of the classification, i.e., the pre-clustering of the preliminary data. The operation of the prioritization framework is independent of the algorithm used to pre-cluster the preliminary data, and supports autonomous decision-making. It is widely applicable across many scientific disciplines and areas, ranging from the microscopic to the macroscopic scale. Due to its ability to help maximize scientific return while optimizing resource utilization, it is particularly relevant in the context of resource-constrained autonomous robotic planetary exploration as it may extend the Remaining Useful Lifetime (RUL) – a key aspect in Prognostics and Health Management (PHM) – of space missions. On a more general, PHM-relevant level, the prioritization framework may provide an additional mechanism of identifying and correcting the maintenance status of system components to assist predictive maintenance or condition-based maintenance.

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Keywords

Generic scientific region of interest or target prioritization, Autonomous decision making, Resource-constrained scientific return optimization, Information processing, Clustering quality analysis, Feature-vector based data mining, Hypothetical probing in the absence of ground truth

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Technical Papers