This paper presents a new deterministic approximation technique in Bayesian networks. This method, "Expectation Propagation", unifies two previous techniques: assumed-density filtering, an extension of the Kalman filter, and loopy belief propagation, an extension of belief propagation in Bayesian networks. All three algorithms try to recover an approximate distribution which is close in KL divergence to the true distribution. Loopy belief propagation, because it propagates exact belief states, is useful for a limited class of belief networks, such as those which are purely discrete. Expectation Propagation approximates the belief states by only retaining certain expectations, such as mean and variance, and iterates until these expectations are consistent throughout the network. This makes it applicable to hybrid networks with discrete and continuous nodes. Expectation Propagation also extends belief propagation in the opposite direction - it can propagate richer belief states that incorporate correlations between nodes. Experiments with Gaussian mixture models show Expectation Propagation to be convincingly better than methods with similar computational cost: Laplace's method, variational Bayes, and Monte Carlo. Expectation Propagation also provides an efficient algorithm for training Bayes point machine classifiers.
Recently, researchers have demonstrated that loopy belief propagation - the use of Pearls polytree algorithm IN a Bayesian network WITH loops OF error- correcting codes.The most dramatic instance OF this IS the near Shannon - limit performance OF Turbo Codes codes whose decoding algorithm IS equivalent TO loopy belief propagation IN a chain - structured Bayesian network. IN this paper we ask : IS there something special about the error - correcting code context, OR does loopy propagation WORK AS an approximate inference schemeIN a more general setting? We compare the marginals computed using loopy propagation TO the exact ones IN four Bayesian network architectures, including two real - world networks : ALARM AND QMR.We find that the loopy beliefs often converge AND WHEN they do, they give a good approximation TO the correct marginals.However,ON the QMR network, the loopy beliefs oscillated AND had no obvious relationship TO the correct posteriors. We present SOME initial investigations INTO the cause OF these oscillations, AND show that SOME simple methods OF preventing them lead TO the wrong results.