Learning the Structure of Sum-Product Networks


Robert Gens, Domingos Pedro ;
Proceedings of the 30th International Conference on Machine Learning, PMLR 28(3):873-880, 2013.


Sum-product networks (SPNs) are a new class of deep probabilistic models. SPNs can have unbounded treewidth but inference in them is always tractable. An SPN is either a univariate distribution, a product of SPNs over disjoint variables, or a weighted sum of SPNs over the same variables. We propose the first algorithm for learning the structure of SPNs that takes full advantage of their expressiveness. At each step, the algorithm attempts to divide the current variables into approximately independent subsets. If successful, it returns the product of recursive calls on the subsets; otherwise it returns the sum of recursive calls on subsets of similar instances from the current training set. A comprehensive empirical study shows that the learned SPNs are typically comparable to graphical models in likelihood but superior in inference speed and accuracy.

Related Material