Cutset Sampling for Bayesian Networks

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Abstract

The paper presents a new sampling methodology for Bayesian networks that samples only a subset of variables and applies exact inference to the rest. Cutset sampling is a network structure-exploiting application of the Rao-Blackwellisation principle to sampling in Bayesian networks. It improves convergence by exploiting memory-based inference algorithms. It can also be viewed as an anytime approximation of the exact cutset-conditioning algorithm developed by Pearl. Cutset sampling can be implemented efficiently when the sampled variables constitute a loop-cutset of the Bayesian network and, more generally, when the induced width of the network's graph conditioned on the observed sampled variables is bounded by a constant w. We demonstrate empirically the benefit of this scheme on a range of benchmarks.

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