Bayesian Sparse Factor Models and DAGs Inference and Comparison

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 22 (NIPS 2009)

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Ricardo Henao, Ole Winther


In this paper we present a novel approach to learn directed acyclic graphs (DAG) and factor models within the same framework while also allowing for model comparison between them. For this purpose, we exploit the connection between factor models and DAGs to propose Bayesian hierarchies based on spike and slab priors to promote sparsity, heavy-tailed priors to ensure identifiability and predictive densities to perform the model comparison. We require identifiability to be able to produce variable orderings leading to valid DAGs and sparsity to learn the structures. The effectiveness of our approach is demonstrated through extensive experiments on artificial and biological data showing that our approach outperform a number of state of the art methods.