An Experimental Study of Prior Dependence in Bayesian Network Structure Learning

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Alvaro Henrique Chaim Correia, Cassio P. de Campos, Linda C. van der Gaag ;
Proceedings of the Eleventh International Symposium on Imprecise Probabilities: Theories and Applications, PMLR 103:78-81, 2019.

Abstract

The Bayesian Dirichlet equivalent uniform (BDeu) function is a popular score to evaluate the goodness of a Bayesian network structure given complete categorical data. Despite its interesting properties, such as likelihood equivalence, it does require a prior expressed via a user-defined parameter known as Equivalent Sample Size (ESS), which significantly affects the final structure. We study conditions to obtain prior independence in BDeu-based structure learning. We show in experiments that the amount of data needed to render the learning robust to different ESS values is prohibitively large, even in big data times.

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