Revisiting Algebra and Complexity of Inference in Graphical Models [article]

Siamak Ravanbakhsh, Russell Greiner
2015 arXiv   pre-print
This paper studies the form and complexity of inference in graphical models using the abstraction offered by algebraic structures. In particular, we broadly formalize inference problems in graphical models by viewing them as a sequence of operations based on commutative semigroups. We then study the computational complexity of inference by organizing various problems into an "inference hierarchy". When the underlying structure of an inference problem is a commutative semiring -- i.e. a
more » ... on of two commutative semigroups with the distributive law -- a message passing procedure called belief propagation can leverage this distributive law to perform polynomial-time inference for certain problems. After establishing the NP-hardness of inference in any commutative semiring, we investigate the relation between algebraic properties in this setting and further show that polynomial-time inference using distributive law does not (trivially) extend to inference problems that are expressed using more than two commutative semigroups. We then extend the algebraic treatment of message passing procedures to survey propagation, providing a novel perspective using a combination of two commutative semirings. This formulation generalizes the application of survey propagation to new settings.
arXiv:1409.7410v4 fatcat:s2jnwiaxvrawrehtpou6cot2fi