Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 27 (NIPS 2014)
Nicholas Ruozzi, Tony Jebara
Computing the partition function (i.e., the normalizing constant) of a given pairwise binary graphical model is NP-hard in general. As a result, the partition function is typically estimated by approximate inference algorithms such as belief propagation (BP) and tree-reweighted belief propagation (TRBP). The former provides reasonable estimates in practice but has convergence issues. The later has better convergence properties but typically provides poorer estimates. In this work, we propose a novel scheme that has better convergence properties than BP and provably provides better partition function estimates in many instances than TRBP. In particular, given an arbitrary pairwise binary graphical model, we construct a specific ``attractive'' 2-cover. We explore the properties of this special cover and show that it can be used to construct an algorithm with the desired properties.