Paper abstract

Distribution-free Learning of Bayesian Network Structure

Xiaohai Sun - Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Germany

Session: Bayesian Nets
Springer Link:

We present an independence-based method for learning Bayesian network (BN) structure without making any assumptions on the probability distribution of the domain. This is mainly useful for continuous domains. Even mixed continuous-categorical domains and structures containing vectorial variables can be handled. We address the problem by developing a non-parametric conditional independence test based on the so-called kernel dependence measure, which can be readily used by any existing independence-based BN structure learning algorithm. We demonstrate the structure learning of graphical models in continuous and mixed domains from real-world data without distributional assumptions. We also experimentally show that our test is a good alternative, in particular in case of small sample sizes, compared to existing tests, which can only be used in purely categorical or continuous domains.