On Sparse Gaussian Chain Graph Models

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 27 (NIPS 2014)

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Calvin McCarter, Seyoung Kim


In this paper, we address the problem of learning the structure of Gaussian chain graph models in a high-dimensional space. Chain graph models are generalizations of undirected and directed graphical models that contain a mixed set of directed and undirected edges. While the problem of sparse structure learning has been studied extensively for Gaussian graphical models and more recently for conditional Gaussian graphical models (CGGMs), there has been little previous work on the structure recovery of Gaussian chain graph models. We consider linear regression models and a re-parameterization of the linear regression models using CGGMs as building blocks of chain graph models. We argue that when the goal is to recover model structures, there are many advantages of using CGGMs as chain component models over linear regression models, including convexity of the optimization problem, computational efficiency, recovery of structured sparsity, and ability to leverage the model structure for semi-supervised learning. We demonstrate our approach on simulated and genomic datasets.