On the Relationship between Sum-Product Networks and Bayesian Networks


Han Zhao, Mazen Melibari, Pascal Poupart ;
Proceedings of the 32nd International Conference on Machine Learning, PMLR 37:116-124, 2015.


In this paper, we establish some theoretical connections between Sum-Product Networks (SPNs) and Bayesian Networks (BNs). We prove that every SPN can be converted into a BN in linear time and space in terms of the network size. The key insight is to use Algebraic Decision Diagrams (ADDs) to compactly represent the local conditional probability distributions at each node in the resulting BN by exploiting context-specific independence (CSI). The generated BN has a simple directed bipartite graphical structure. We show that by applying the Variable Elimination algorithm (VE) to the generated BN with ADD representations, we can recover the original SPN where the SPN can be viewed as a history record or caching of the VE inference process. To help state the proof clearly, we introduce the notion of \em normal SPN and present a theoretical analysis of the consistency and decomposability properties. We conclude the paper with some discussion of the implications of the proof and establish a connection between the depth of an SPN and a lower bound of the tree-width of its corresponding BN.

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