*arthur choi, adnan darwiche*

We consider the problem of computing mutual information between many pairs of variables in a Bayesian network. This task is relevant to a new class of Generalized Belief Propagation (GBP) algorithms that characterizes Iterative Belief Propagation (IBP) as a polytree approximation found by deleting edges in a Bayesian network. By computing, in the simplified network, the mutual information between variables across a deleted edge, we can estimate the impact that recovering the edge might have on the approximation. Unfortunately, it is computationally impractical to compute such scores for networks over many variables having large state spaces. So that edge recovery can scale to such networks, we propose in this paper an approximation of mutual information which is based on a soft extension of d-separation (a graphical test of independence in Bayesian networks). We focus primarily on polytree networks, which are sufficient for the application we consider, although we discuss potential extensions of the approximation to general networks as well. Empirically, we show that our proposal is often as effective as mutual information for the task of edge recovery, with orders of magnitude savings in computation time in larger networks. Our results lead to a concrete realization of GBP, admitting improvements to IBP approximations with only a modest amount of computational effort.

*Subjects: *3.4 Probabilistic Reasoning; 3. Automated Reasoning

*Submitted:* Apr 14, 2008

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