PAC learning of Probabilistic Automaton based on the Method of Moments

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Hadrien Glaude, Olivier Pietquin ;
Proceedings of The 33rd International Conference on Machine Learning, PMLR 48:820-829, 2016.

Abstract

Probabilitic Finite Automata (PFA) are generative graphical models that define distributions with latent variables over finite sequences of symbols, a.k.a. stochastic languages. Traditionally, unsupervised learning of PFA is performed through algorithms that iteratively improves the likelihood like the Expectation-Maximization (EM) algorithm. Recently, learning algorithms based on the so-called Method of Moments (MoM) have been proposed as a much faster alternative that comes with PAC-style guarantees. However, these algorithms do not ensure the learnt automata to model a proper distribution, limiting their applicability and preventing them to serve as an initialization to iterative algorithms. In this paper, we propose a new MoM-based algorithm with PAC-style guarantees that learns automata defining proper distributions. We assess its performances on synthetic problems from the PAutomaC challenge and real datasets extracted from Wikipedia against previous MoM-based algorithms and EM algorithm.

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