Example Walkthrough

eriq edited this page May 30, 2018 · 7 revisions

This page will walk you through the Groovy version of the Simple Acquaintances example.


First, ensure that your system meets the prerequisites. Then clone the psl-examples repository:

git clone https://github.com/linqs/psl-examples.git


Then move into the root directory for the simple acquaintances groovy example:

cd psl-examples/simple-acquaintances/groovy

Each example comes with a run.sh script to quickly compile and run the example. To compile and run the example:


To see the output of the example, check the inferred-predicates/KNOWS.txt file:

cat inferred-predicates/KNOWS.txt

You should see some output like:

'Arti'	'Ben'	0.48425865173339844
'Arti'	'Steve'	0.5642937421798706
< ... 48 rows omitted for brevity ...>
'Jay'	'Dhanya'	0.4534565508365631
'Alex'	'Dhanya'	0.48786869645118713

The exact order of the output may change and some rows were left out for brevity.

Now that we have the example running, lets take a look inside the only source file for the example: src/main/java/org/linqs/psl/examples/simpleacquaintances/Run.groovy.


All configuration in PSL is handled through the Config object. By default, PSL will look for two configuration files: psl.properties and log4j.properties. You can find these files in the src/main/resources directory. The Config class will automatically load these files (if they exist) and all the options in them. Configuration options can still be set using the addProperty() and setProperty() methods of the Config class.

Defining Predicates

The definePredicates() method defines the three predicates for our example:

model.add predicate: "Lived", types: [ConstantType.UniqueStringID, ConstantType.UniqueStringID];
model.add predicate: "Likes", types: [ConstantType.UniqueStringID, ConstantType.UniqueStringID];
model.add predicate: "Knows", types: [ConstantType.UniqueStringID, ConstantType.UniqueStringID];

Each predicate here takes two unique string identifiers as arguments. Note that for unique identifiers, ConstantType.UniqueStringID and ConstantType.UniqueIntID are available. Having integer identifiers usually requires more pre-processing on the user's side, but gains better performance.

  • Lived indicates that a person has lived in a specific location. For example: Lived(Sammy, SantaCruz) would indicate that Sammy has lived in Santa Cruz.
  • Likes indicates the extent to which a person likes something. For example: Likes(Sammy, Hiking) would indicate the extent that Sammy likes hiking.
  • Knows indicates that a person knows some other person. For example: Knows(Sammy, Jay) would indicate that Sammy and Jay know each other.

Defining Rules

The defineRules() method defines six rules for the example. There are pages that cover the PSL rule specification and the rule specification in Groovy. We will discuss the following two rules:

   rule: "20: Lived(P1, L) & Lived(P2, L) & (P1 != P2) -> Knows(P1, P2) ^2"

   rule: "5: !Knows(P1, P2) ^2"

The first first rule can be read as "If P1 and P2 are different people and have both lived in the same location, L, then they know each other". Some key points to note from this rule are:

  • The variable L was reused in both Lived atoms and therefore must refer to the same location.
  • (P1 != P2) is shorthand for P1 and P2 referring to different people (different unique ids).

The second rule is a special rule that acts as a prior. Notice how this rule is not an implication like all the other rules. Instead, this rule can be read as "By default, people do not know each other". Therefore, the program will start with the belief that no one knows each other and this prior belief will be overcome with evidence.

Loading Data

The loadData() method loads the data from the flat files in the data directory into the data store that PSL is working with. For berevity, we will only be looking at two files:

Inserter inserter = dataStore.getInserter(Lived, obsPartition);
inserter.loadDelimitedData(Paths.get(DATA_PATH, "lived_obs.txt").toString());

inserter = dataStore.getInserter(Likes, obsPartition);
inserter.loadDelimitedDataTruth(Paths.get(DATA_PATH, "likes_obs.txt").toString());

Both portions load data using an Inserter. The primary difference between the two calls is that the second one is looking for a truth value while the first one assumes that 1 is the truth value.

If we look in the files, we see lines like:


Jay	Maryland
Jay	California


Jay	Machine Learning  1
Jay	Skeeball 0.8

In lives_obs.txt, there is no need to use a truth value because living somewhere is a discrete act. You have either lived there or you have not. Liking something, however, is more continuous. Jay may like Machine Learning 100%, but he only likes Skeeball 80%.


Here we must take a moment to talk about data partitions. In PSL, we use partitions to organize data. A partition is nothing more than a container for data, but we use them to keep specific chunks of data together or separate. For example if we are running evaluation, we must be sure not use our test partition in training. A more complete discussion of partitions and data storage in PSL can be found here on this page.

PSL users typically organize their data in at least three different partitions (all of which you can see in this example):

  • observations (called obsPartition in this example): In this partition we put actual observed data. In this example, we put all the observations about who has lived where, who likes what, and who knows who in the observations partition.
  • targets (called targetsPartition in this example): In this partition we put atoms that we want to infer values for. For example if we want to if Jay and Sammy know each other, then we would put the atom Knows(Jay, Sammy) into the targets partition.
  • truth (called truthPartition in this example): In this partition we put our test set, data that we have actual values for but are not including in our observations for the purpose of evaluation. For example, if we know that Jay and Sammy actually do know each other, we would put Knows(Jay, Sammy) in the truth partition with a truth value of 1.

Running Inference

The runInference() method handles running inference for all the data we have loaded.

Before we run inference, we have to set up a database to use for inference:

Database inferDB = dataStore.getDatabase(targetsPartition, [Lived, Likes] as Set, obsPartition);

The getDatabase() method of DataStore is the proper way to get a database. This method takes a minimum of two parameters:

  • The partition that this database is allowed to write to. In inference, we will be writing the inferred truth values of atom to the target partition, so we will need to have it open for writing.
  • A set of partitions to be closed in the write partition. Even though we are writing values into the write partition, we may only have a few predicates that we actually want to infer values for. This parameter allows you to close those predicates that you do not what changed. Lastly, getDatabase() takes any number of read-only partitions that you want to include in this database. In our example, we want to include our observations when we run inference.

Now we are ready to run inference:

InferenceApplication inference = new MPEInference(model, inferDB);

To the MPEInference constructor, we supply our model and the database to infer over. To see the results, then we will need to look inside of the target partition.


The method writeOutput() handles printing out the results of the inference. There are two key lines in this method:

Database resultsDB = ds.getDatabase(targetsPartition);
for (GroundAtom atom : resultsDB.getAllGrondAtoms(Knows)) {

The first line gets a fresh database that we can get the atoms from. Notice that we are passing in targetsPartition as a write partition, but we are actually just reading from it.

The second line uses the Queries class to iterate over all the Knows atoms from the database we just created.


Lastly, the evalResults() method handles seeing how well our model did. The DiscreteEvaluator class provides basic tools to compare two partitions. In this example, we are comparing our target partition to our truth partition.

You can’t perform that action at this time.
You signed in with another tab or window. Reload to refresh your session. You signed out in another tab or window. Reload to refresh your session.
Press h to open a hovercard with more details.