Tutorial on Structured Continuous-Time Markov Processes

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Abstract

A continuous-time Markov process (CTMP) is a collection of variables indexed by a continuous quantity, time. It obeys the Markov property that the distribution over a future variable is independent of past variables given the state at the present time. We introduce continuous-time Markov process representations and algorithms for filtering, smoothing, expected sufficient statistics calculations, and model estimation, assuming no prior knowledge of continuous-time processes but some basic knowledge of probability and statistics. We begin by describing "flat" or unstructured Markov processes and then move to structured Markov processes (those arising from state spaces consisting of assignments to variables) including Kronecker, decision-diagram, and continuous-time Bayesian network representations. We provide the first connection between decision-diagrams and continuous-time Bayesian networks.

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