Nonparanormal Belief Propagation (NPNBP)

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

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Gal Elidan, Cobi Cario


The empirical success of the belief propagation approximate inference algorithm has inspired numerous theoretical and algorithmic advances. Yet, for continuous non-Gaussian domains performing belief propagation remains a challenging task: recent innovations such as nonparametric or kernel belief propagation, while useful, come with a substantial computational cost and offer little theoretical guarantees, even for tree structured models. In this work we present Nonparanormal BP for performing efficient inference on distributions parameterized by a Gaussian copulas network and any univariate marginals. For tree structured networks, our approach is guaranteed to be exact for this powerful class of non-Gaussian models. Importantly, the method is as efficient as standard Gaussian BP, and its convergence properties do not depend on the complexity of the univariate marginals, even when a nonparametric representation is used.