Tree-structured Approximations by Expectation Propagation

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 16 (NIPS 2003)

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Yuan Qi, Tom Minka


Approximation structure plays an important role in inference on loopy graphs. As a tractable structure, tree approximations have been utilized in the variational method of Ghahramani & Jordan (1997) and the se- quential projection method of Frey et al. (2000). However, belief propa- gation represents each factor of the graph with a product of single-node messages. In this paper, belief propagation is extended to represent fac- tors with tree approximations, by way of the expectation propagation framework. That is, each factor sends a “message” to all pairs of nodes in a tree structure. The result is more accurate inferences and more fre- quent convergence than ordinary belief propagation, at a lower cost than variational trees or double-loop algorithms.