Probabilistic Inference in Credal Networks: New Complexity Results

Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research

Credal networks are graph-based statistical models whose parameters take values in a set, instead of being sharply specified as in traditional statistical models (e.g., Bayesian networks). The computational complexity of inferences on such models depends on the irrelevance/independence concept adopted. In this paper, we study inferential complexity under the concepts of epistemic irrelevance and strong independence. We show that inferences under strong independence are NP-hard even in trees with binary variables except for a single ternary one. We prove that under epistemic irrelevance the polynomial-time complexity of inferences in credal trees is not likely to extend to more general models (e.g., singly connected topologies). These results clearly distinguish networks that admit efficient inferences and those where inferences are most likely hard, and settle several open questions regarding their computational complexity. We show that these results remain valid even if we disallow the use of zero probabilities. We also show that the computation of bounds on the probability of the future state in a hidden Markov model is the same whether we assume epistemic irrelevance or strong independence, and we prove a similar result for inference in naive Bayes structures. These inferential equivalences are important for practitioners, as hidden Markov models and naive Bayes structures are used in real applications of imprecise probability.

Propositional and Relational Bayesian Networks Associated with Imprecise and Qualitative Probabilistic Assesments Artificial Intelligence

This paper investigates a representation language with flexibility inspired by probabilistic logic and compactness inspired by relational Bayesian networks. The goal is to handle propositional and first-order constructs together with precise, imprecise, indeterminate and qualitative probabilistic assessments. The paper shows how this can be achieved through the theory of credal networks. New exact and approximate inference algorithms based on multilinear programming and iterated/loopy propagation of interval probabilities are presented; their superior performance, compared to existing ones, is shown empirically.

Inference in Polytrees with Sets of Probabilities Artificial Intelligence

Inferences in directed acyclic graphs associated with probability sets and probability intervals are NP-hard, even for polytrees. In this paper we focus on such inferences, and propose: 1) a substantial improvement on Tessems A / R algorithm FOR polytrees WITH probability intervals; 2) a new algorithm FOR direction - based local search(IN sets OF probability) that improves ON existing methods; 3) a collection OF branch - AND - bound algorithms that combine the previous techniques.The first two techniques lead TO approximate solutions, WHILE branch - AND - bound procedures can produce either exact OR approximate solutions.We report ON dramatic improvements ON existing techniques FOR inference WITH probability sets AND intervals, IN SOME cases reducing the computational effort BY many orders OF magnitude.

Reliable Uncertain Evidence Modeling in Bayesian Networks by Credal Networks

AAAI Conferences

A reliable modeling of uncertain evidence in Bayesian networks based on a set-valued quantification is proposed. Both soft and virtual evidences are considered. We show that evidence propagation in this setup can be reduced to standard updating in an augmented credal network, equivalent to a set of consistent Bayesian networks. A characterization of the computational complexity for this task is derived together with an efficient exact procedure for a subclass of instances. In the case of multiple uncertain evidences over the same variable, the proposed procedure can provide a set-valued version of the geometric approach to opinion pooling.

Inference with Seperately Specified Sets of Probabilities in Credal Networks Artificial Intelligence

We present new algorithms for inference in credal networks --- directed acyclic graphs associated with sets of probabilities. Credal networks are here interpreted as encoding strong independence relations among variables. We first present a theory of credal networks based on separately specified sets of probabilities. We also show that inference with polytrees is NP-hard in this setting. We then introduce new techniques that reduce the computational effort demanded by inference, particularly in polytrees, by exploring separability of credal sets.