Quick links

Learning Structured Bayesian Networks: Combining Abstraction Hierarchies and Tree-Structured Conditional Probability Tables

Date and Time
Wednesday, May 7, 2008 - 1:00pm to 2:30pm
Computer Science 418B
Marie desJardins, from University of Maryland
Jennifer Rexford
In this talk, I will describe our research on incorporating background knowledge in the form of feature hierarchies during Bayesian network learning. Feature hierarchies enable the learning system to aggregate categorical variables in meaningful ways, thus enabling an appropriate "discretization" for a categorical variable. In addition, by choosing the appropriate level of abstraction for the parent of a node, we also support compact representations for the local probability models in the network. We combine this notion of selecting an appropriate abstraction with context-specific independence representations, which capture local ndependence relationships among the random variables in the Bayesian network. Capturing this local structure is important because it reduces the number of parameters required to represent the distribution. This can lead to more robust parameter estimation and structure selection, more efficient inference algorithms, and more interpretable models.

I will describe our primary contribution, the Tree-Abstraction-Based Search (TABS) algorithm, which learns a data distribution by inducing the graph structure and parameters of a Bayesian network from training data. TABS combines tree structure and attribute-value hierarchies to compactly represent conditional probability tables. In order to construct the attribute-value hierarchies, we investigate two data-driven techniques: a global clustering method, which uses all of the training data to build the attribute-value hierarchies, and can be performed as a preprocessing step; and a local clustering method, which uses only the local network structure to learn attribute-value hierarchies. Empirical results in several benchmark domains show that (1) combining tree structure and attribute-value hierarchies improves the accuracy of generalization, while providing a significant reduction in the number of parameters in the learned networks, and (2) data-derived hierarchies perform as well or better than expert-provided hierarchies.

BIOGRAPHY Dr. Marie desJardins is an associate professor in the Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Her research is in artificial intelligence, focusing on the areas of machine learning, multi-agent systems, planning, interactive AI techniques, information management, reasoning with uncertainty, and decision theory.

Dr. desJardins can be contacted at the Dept. of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, University of Maryland Baltimore County, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore MD 21250, mariedj@cs.umbc.edu,(410) 455-3967.

Follow us: Facebook Twitter Linkedin