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Daphne Koller Publications

Context-specific independence in Bayesian networks (1996)

by C. Boutilier, N. Friedman, M. Goldszmidt, and D. Koller


Abstract: Bayesian networks provide a language for qualitatively representing the conditional independence properties of a distribution. This allows a natural and compact representation of the distribution, eases knowledge acquisition, and supports effective inference algorithms. It is well-known, however, that there are certain independencies that we cannot capture qualitatively within the Bayesian network structure: independencies that hold only in certain contexts, i.e., given a specific assignment of values to certain variables. In this paper, we propose a formal notion of context-specific independence (CSI), based on regularities in the conditional probability tables (CPTs) at a node. We present a technique, analogous to (and based on) d-separation, for determining when such independence holds in a given network. We then focus on a particular qualitative representation scheme-tree-structured CPTs-for capturing CSI. We suggest ways in which this representation can be used to support effective inference algorithms. In particular, we present a structural decomposition of the resulting network which can improve the performance of clustering algorithms, and an alternative algorithm based on cutset conditioning.


Download Information

C. Boutilier, N. Friedman, M. Goldszmidt, and D. Koller (1996). "Context-specific independence in Bayesian networks." Proceedings of the Twelfth Annual Conference on Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence (UAI '96) (pp. 115-123). pdf ps.gz

Bibtex citation

@inproceedings{Boutilier+al:UAI96,
  author =       "C. Boutilier and N. Friedman and M. Goldszmidt
                 and D. Koller",
  booktitle =    "Proceedings of the Twelfth Annual Conference on
                 Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence (UAI '96)",
  title =        "Context-specific independence in {B}ayesian networks",
  publisher =    "Morgan Kaufman",
  pages =        "115--123",
  month =        aug,
  year =         "1996",
  city =         "Portland, Oregon",
}

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