Hierarchical Semi-Markov Conditional Random Fields for Recursive Sequential Data

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 21 (NIPS 2008)

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Tran Truyen, Dinh Phung, Hung Bui, Svetha Venkatesh


Inspired by the hierarchical hidden Markov models (HHMM), we present the hierarchical semi-Markov conditional random field (HSCRF), a generalisation of embedded undirected Markov chains to model complex hierarchical, nested Markov processes. It is parameterised in a discriminative framework and has polynomial time algorithms for learning and inference. Importantly, we develop efficient algorithms for learning and constrained inference in a partially-supervised setting, which is important issue in practice where labels can only be obtained sparsely. We demonstrate the HSCRF in two applications: (i) recognising human activities of daily living (ADLs) from indoor surveillance cameras, and (ii) noun-phrase chunking. We show that the HSCRF is capable of learning rich hierarchical models with reasonable accuracy in both fully and partially observed data cases.