Anandkumar, Animashree, Valluvan, Ragupathyraj

The problem of structure estimation in graphical models with latent variables is considered. We characterize conditions for tractable graph estimation and develop efficient methods with provable guarantees. We consider models where the underlying Markov graph is locally tree-like, and the model is in the regime of correlation decay. For the special case of the Ising model, the number of samples $n$ required for structural consistency of our method scales as $n=\Omega(\theta_{\min}^{-\delta\eta(\eta+1)-2}\log p)$, where p is the number of variables, $\theta_{\min}$ is the minimum edge potential, $\delta$ is the depth (i.e., distance from a hidden node to the nearest observed nodes), and $\eta$ is a parameter which depends on the bounds on node and edge potentials in the Ising model. Necessary conditions for structural consistency under any algorithm are derived and our method nearly matches the lower bound on sample requirements. Further, the proposed method is practical to implement and provides flexibility to control the number of latent variables and the cycle lengths in the output graph.

Mourad, R., Sinoquet, C., Zhang, N. L., Liu, T., Leray, P.

In data analysis, latent variables play a central role because they help provide powerful insights into a wide variety of phenomena, ranging from biological to human sciences. The latent tree model, a particular type of probabilistic graphical models, deserves attention. Its simple structure - a tree - allows simple and efficient inference, while its latent variables capture complex relationships. In the past decade, the latent tree model has been subject to significant theoretical and methodological developments. In this review, we propose a comprehensive study of this model. First we summarize key ideas underlying the model. Second we explain how it can be efficiently learned from data. Third we illustrate its use within three types of applications: latent structure discovery, multidimensional clustering, and probabilistic inference. Finally, we conclude and give promising directions for future researches in this field.

Latent tree models are graphical models defined on trees, in which only a subset of variables is observed. They were first discussed by Judea Pearl as tree-decomposable distributions to generalise star-decomposable distributions such as the latent class model. Latent tree models, or their submodels, are widely used in: phylogenetic analysis, network tomography, computer vision, causal modeling, and data clustering. They also contain other well-known classes of models like hidden Markov models, Brownian motion tree model, the Ising model on a tree, and many popular models used in phylogenetics. This article offers a concise introduction to the theory of latent tree models. We emphasise the role of tree metrics in the structural description of this model class, in designing learning algorithms, and in understanding fundamental limits of what and when can be learned.

Anandkumar, Anima, Valluvan, Ragupathyraj

Graphical model selection refers to the problem of estimating the unknown graph structure given observations at the nodes in the model. We consider a challenging instance of this problem when some of the nodes are latent or hidden. We characterize conditions for tractable graph estimation and develop efficient methods with provable guarantees. We consider the class of Ising models Markov on locally tree-like graphs, which are in the regime of correlation decay. We propose an efficient method for graph estimation, and establish its structural consistency when the number of samples $n$ scales as $n = \Omega(\theta_{\min}^{-\delta \eta(\eta+1)-2}\log p)$, where $\theta_{\min}$ is the minimum edge potential, $\delta$ is the depth (i.e., distance from a hidden node to the nearest observed nodes), and $\eta$ is a parameter which depends on the minimum and maximum node and edge potentials in the Ising model. The proposed method is practical to implement and provides flexibility to control the number of latent variables and the cycle lengths in the output graph. We also present necessary conditions for graph estimation by any method and show that our method nearly matches the lower bound on sample requirements.

Huang, Furong, N., Niranjan U., Perros, Ioakeim, Chen, Robert, Sun, Jimeng, Anandkumar, Anima

We present an integrated approach to structure and parameter estimation in latent tree graphical models, where some nodes are hidden. Our overall approach follows a "divide-and-conquer" strategy that learns models over small groups of variables and iteratively merges into a global solution. The structure learning involves combinatorial operations such as minimum spanning tree construction and local recursive grouping; the parameter learning is based on the method of moments and on tensor decompositions. Our method is guaranteed to correctly recover the unknown tree structure and the model parameters with low sample complexity for the class of linear multivariate latent tree models which includes discrete and Gaussian distributions, and Gaussian mixtures. Our bulk asynchronous parallel algorithm is implemented in parallel using the OpenMP framework and scales logarithmically with the number of variables and linearly with dimensionality of each variable. Our experiments confirm a high degree of efficiency and accuracy on large datasets of electronic health records. The proposed algorithm also generates intuitive and clinically meaningful disease hierarchies.