The Bethe Partition Function of Log-supermodular Graphical Models

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 25 (NIPS 2012)

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Nicholas Ruozzi


Sudderth, Wainwright, and Willsky conjectured that the Bethe approximation corresponding to any fixed point of the belief propagation algorithm over an attractive, pairwise binary graphical model provides a lower bound on the true partition function. In this work, we resolve this conjecture in the affirmative by demonstrating that, for any graphical model with binary variables whose potential functions (not necessarily pairwise) are all log-supermodular, the Bethe partition function always lower bounds the true partition function. The proof of this result follows from a new variant of the “four functions” theorem that may be of independent interest.