Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 35 (NeurIPS 2022) Main Conference Track

*Shasha Jin, Vasundhara Komaragiri, Tahrima Rahman, Vibhav Gogate*

Tractable probabilistic models such as cutset networks which admit exact linear time posterior marginal inference are often preferred in practice over intractable models such as Bayesian and Markov networks. This is because although tractable models, when learned from data, are slightly inferior to the intractable ones in terms of goodness-of-fit measures such as log-likelihood, they do not use approximate inference at prediction time and as a result exhibit superior predictive performance. In this paper, we consider the problem of improving a tractable model using a large number of local probability estimates, each defined over a small subset of variables that are either available from experts or via an external process. Given a model learned from fully-observed, but small amount of possibly noisy data, the key idea in our approach is to update the parameters of the model via a gradient descent procedure that seeks to minimize a convex combination of two quantities: one that enforces closeness via KL divergence to the local estimates and another that enforces closeness to the given model. We show that although the gradients are NP-hard to compute on arbitrary graphical models, they can be efficiently computed over tractable models. We show via experiments that our approach yields tractable models that are significantly superior to the ones learned from small amount of possibly noisy data, even when the local estimates are inconsistent.

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