Kuldeep S. Meel

Ph.D. Candidate
Department of Computer Science
3060 Duncan Hall
Rice University
Houston, TX 77005
Email: kuldeep AT rice.edu

Google Scholar

Short Bio

I am currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Computer Science at Rice University, co-advised by Prof. Moshe Vardi and Prof. Supratik Chakraborty (IITB). I design computational techniques for constrained sampling and counting, probabilistic reasoning, and machine learning with applications to diverse domains such as power grid resilience, hardware and software verification.

My work received the 2014 Outstanding Masters Thesis Award from Vienna Center of Logic and Algorithms and the Best Student Paper Award at CP 2015. I received the 2016-17 IBM PhD Fellowship and the 2016-17 Lodieska Stockbridge Vaughn Fellowship for my work on constrained sampling and counting.

Research Interests

  • Constrained Sampling and Counting         
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Machine Learning
  • Formal Methods
  • Resilience of Critical Infrastructure Networks

Awards and Honors

Selected Publications

The names of authors are sorted alphabetically and the order does not reflect contribution.
Counting-Based Reliability Estimation for Power-Transmission Grids
Leonardo Duenas-Osorio, Kuldeep S. Meel, Roger Paredes, and Moshe Y. Vardi
Proceedings of AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), 2017.
Modern society is increasingly reliant on the functionality of infrastructure facilities and utility services. Consequently, there has been surge of interest in the problem of quantification of system reliability, which is known to be #P-complete. Reliability also contributes to the resilience of systems, so as to effectively make them bounce back after contingencies. Despite diverse progress, most techniques to estimate system reliability and resilience remain computationally expensive. In this paper, we investigate how recent advances in hashing-based approaches to counting can be exploited to improve computational techniques for system reliability. The primary contribution of this paper is a novel framework, RelNet, that provides provably approximately correct (PAC) estimates for arbitrary networks. We then apply RelNet to ten real world power transmission grids across different cities in the U.S. and are able to obtain, to the best of our knowledge, the first theoretically sound a priori estimates of reliability between several pairs of nodes of interest. Such estimates will help managing uncertainty and support rational decision making for community resilience.
Algorithmic Improvements in Approximate Counting for Probabilistic Inference: From Linear to Logarithmic SAT Calls
Supratik Chakraborty, Kuldeep S. Meel, and Moshe Y. Vardi
Proceedings of International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI), 2016.
Probabilistic inference via model counting has emerged as a scalable technique with strong formal guarantees, thanks to recent advances in hashing-based approximate counting. State-of-the-art hashing-based counting algorithms use an {\NP} oracle, such that the number of oracle invocations grows linearly in the number of variables n in the input constraint. We present a new approach to hashing-based approximate model counting in which the number of oracle invocations grows logarithmically in $n$, while still providing strong theoretical guarantees. Our experiments show that the new approach outperforms state-of-the-art techniques for approximate counting by 1-2 orders of magnitude in running time.
On Computing Minimal Independent Support and Its Applications to Sampling and Counting
Alexander Ivrii, Sharad Malik, Kuldeep S. Meel, and Moshe Y. Vardi
Proceedings of International Conference on Constraint Programming (CP), 2015.
Best Student Paper Award
Constrained sampling and counting are two fundamental problems arising in domains ranging from artificial intelligence and security, to hardware and software testing. Recent approaches to approximate solutions for these problems rely on employing SAT solvers and universal hash functions that are typically encoded as XOR constraints of length n/2 for an input formula with n variables. As the runtime performance of SAT solvers heavily depends on the length of XOR constraints, recent research effort has been focused on reduction of length of XOR constraints. Consequently, a notion of Independent Support was proposed, and it was shown that constructing XORs over independent support (if known) can lead to a significant reduction in the length of XOR constraints without losing the theoretical guarantees of sampling and counting algorithms. In this paper, we present the first algorithmic procedure (and a corresponding tool, called MIS) to determine minimal independent support for a given CNF formula by employing a reduction to group minimal unsatisfiable subsets (GMUS). By utilizing minimal independent supports computed by MIS, we provide new tighter bounds on the length of XOR constraints for constrained counting and sampling. Furthermore, the universal hash functions constructed from independent supports computed by MIS provide two to three orders of magnitude performance improvement in state-of-the-art constrained sampling and counting tools, while still retaining theoretical guarantees.
Distribution-Aware Sampling and Weighted Model Counting for SAT
Supratik Chakraborty, Daniel J. Fremont, Kuldeep S. Meel, Sanjit A. Seshia, and Moshe Y. Vardi
Proceedings of AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), 2014.
Given a CNF formula and a weight for each assignment of values to variables, two natural problems are weighted model counting and distribution-aware sampling of satisfying assignments. Both problems have a wide variety of important applications. Due to the inherent complexity of the exact versions of the problems, interest has focused on solving them approximately. Prior work in this area scaled only to small problems in practice, or failed to provide strong theoretical guarantees, or employed a computationally-expensive maximum a posteriori probability (MAP) oracle that assumes prior knowledge of a factored representation of the weight distribution. We present a novel approach that works with a black-box oracle for weights of assignments and requires only an {\NP}-oracle (in practice, a SAT-solver) to solve both the counting and sampling problems. Our approach works under mild assumptions on the distribution of weights of satisfying assignments, provides strong theoretical guarantees, and scales to problems involving several thousand variables. We also show that the assumptions can be significantly relaxed while improving computational efficiency if a factored representation of the weights is known.

Full list of publications is available here


  • Kuldeep Meel: High-Risk, High-Reward Research
  • 24 April 2017

    Our paper on runtime behavior of CNF-XOR formulas is accepted for publication at IJCAI-17

  • 22 April 2017

    Submitted paper on QIF using ApproxMC to ESORICS-17

  • 04 February 2017

    Supratik Chakraborty, Moshe Vardi and I will be presenting tutorial tomorrow at AAAI 2017 on Discrete Sampling and Integration.

  • 30 January 2017

    I am serving on Program Committee of CP 2017. Please consider submitting your work by April 30.

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