Extended Bayesian Information Criteria for Gaussian Graphical Models

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 23 (NIPS 2010)

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Rina Foygel, Mathias Drton


Gaussian graphical models with sparsity in the inverse covariance matrix are of significant interest in many modern applications. For the problem of recovering the graphical structure, information criteria provide useful optimization objectives for algorithms searching through sets of graphs or for selection of tuning parameters of other methods such as the graphical lasso, which is a likelihood penalization technique. In this paper we establish the asymptotic consistency of an extended Bayesian information criterion for Gaussian graphical models in a scenario where both the number of variables p and the sample size n grow. Compared to earlier work on the regression case, our treatment allows for growth in the number of non-zero parameters in the true model, which is necessary in order to cover connected graphs. We demonstrate the performance of this criterion on simulated data when used in conjuction with the graphical lasso, and verify that the criterion indeed performs better than either cross-validation or the ordinary Bayesian information criterion when p and the number of non-zero parameters q both scale with n.