Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 27 (NIPS 2014)
Roy Frostig, Sida Wang, Percy S. Liang, Christopher D. Manning
We focus on the problem of maximum a posteriori (MAP) inference in Markov random fields with binary variables and pairwise interactions. For this common subclass of inference tasks, we consider low-rank relaxations that interpolate between the discrete problem and its full-rank semidefinite relaxation, followed by randomized rounding. We develop new theoretical bounds studying the effect of rank, showing that as the rank grows, the relaxed objective increases but saturates, and that the fraction in objective value retained by the rounded discrete solution decreases. In practice, we show two algorithms for optimizing the low-rank objectives which are simple to implement, enjoy ties to the underlying theory, and outperform existing approaches on benchmark MAP inference tasks.