Structure learning of context-specific graphical models
Pensar, Johan (2016-06-30)
Åbo Akademi University
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Abstract The ultimate problem considered in this thesis is modeling a high-dimensional joint distribution over a set of discrete variables. For this purpose, we consider classes of context-specific graphical models and the main emphasis is on learning the structure of such models from data. Traditional graphical models compactly represent a joint distribution through a factorization justi ed by statements of conditional independence which are encoded by a graph structure. Context-speci c independence is a natural generalization of conditional independence that only holds in a certain context, speci ed by the conditioning variables. We introduce context-speci c generalizations of both Bayesian networks and Markov networks by including statements of context-specific independence which can be encoded as a part of the model structures. For the purpose of learning context-speci c model structures from data, we derive score functions, based on results from Bayesian statistics, by which the plausibility of a structure is assessed. To identify high-scoring structures, we construct stochastic and deterministic search algorithms designed to exploit the structural decomposition of our score functions. Numerical experiments on synthetic and real-world data show that the increased exibility of context-specific structures can more accurately emulate the dependence structure among the variables and thereby improve the predictive accuracy of the models.
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