Efficient high dimensional maximum entropy modeling via symmetric partition functions

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

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Paul Vernaza, Drew Bagnell


The application of the maximum entropy principle to sequence modeling has been popularized by methods such as Conditional Random Fields (CRFs). However, these approaches are generally limited to modeling paths in discrete spaces of low dimensionality. We consider the problem of modeling distributions over paths in continuous spaces of high dimensionality---a problem for which inference is generally intractable. Our main contribution is to show that maximum entropy modeling of high-dimensional, continuous paths is tractable as long as the constrained features possess a certain kind of low dimensional structure. In this case, we show that the associated {\em partition function} is symmetric and that this symmetry can be exploited to compute the partition function efficiently in a compressed form. Empirical results are given showing an application of our method to maximum entropy modeling of high dimensional human motion capture data.