Evolving from within a standardization effort to define an interchangable text file format for belief networks and influence diagrams (Bayesian Network Interchange Format - BNIF), the XBN (XML Belief Network) File Format is an XML file format being used by Microsoft's Decision Theory & Adaptive Systems Group (DTAS). XBN (also glossed as "Bayesian network in XML") is now replacing a previous DSC format. The group has designed an XML DTD XBN.DTD as a 'document description for XBN files'.
Background: "Over the last several years, there has been ongoing discussion of the potential value of creating a Bayesian Network Interchange Format (BNIF) to promote collaboration among investigators in the Uncertainty and Artificial Intelligence (UAI) community. The goal of the BNIF discussions has been to make it easy for researchers using different Bayesian network modeling and inference tools to share models with ease. A proposed BNIF, evolving from ongoing interactions and a meeting at 1996 Conference on Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence, has been online for several years. The proposed BNIF has stimulated discussion and a set of related offshoots on shared representations of Bayesian networks. Various participants, including the Decision Theory & Adaptive Systems Group at Microsoft Research, [have now] agreed to post first drafts of XML formats for belief networks on their web sites, along with the necessary samples and documentation. At this stage, the XML-BNIF effort is not directed towards producing an interchange format. Instead, the goal is to allow direct participants and others to compare and contrast format proposals. In addition, the ease of parsing and porting XML allows the creation of simple converters (written in Perl or Java) for migration between alternate XML-based formats. Although reading XML directly may not be as simple as reading the older BNIF format, the advantage of being able to use generic XML viewers on these proposed formats should be apparent."
"The revised tool set for Bayesian network authoring being developed by the DTAS group at Microsoft Research is being built on the XBN (for "Bayesian network in XML") format. These tools support standard XML 1.0 files and their Document Type Definition components. Currently, we use the file XBN.DTD as the document description for XBN files. Unfortunately, using DTDs with XML engenders some limitations which may ulitimately relegate DTDs to documentary status."