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Joint Bayesian Inference of Graphical Structure and Parameters with a Single Generative Flow Network

Tristan Deleu · Mizu Nishikawa-Toomey · Jithendaraa Subramanian · Nikolay Malkin · Laurent Charlin · Yoshua Bengio

Great Hall & Hall B1+B2 (level 1) #1225
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[ Paper [ Poster [ OpenReview
Tue 12 Dec 8:45 a.m. PST — 10:45 a.m. PST


Generative Flow Networks (GFlowNets), a class of generative models over discrete and structured sample spaces, have been previously applied to the problem of inferring the marginal posterior distribution over the directed acyclic graph (DAG) of a Bayesian Network, given a dataset of observations. Based on recent advances extending this framework to non-discrete sample spaces, we propose in this paper to approximate the joint posterior over not only the structure of a Bayesian Network, but also the parameters of its conditional probability distributions. We use a single GFlowNet whose sampling policy follows a two-phase process: the DAG is first generated sequentially one edge at a time, and then the corresponding parameters are picked once the full structure is known. Since the parameters are included in the posterior distribution, this leaves more flexibility for the local probability models of the Bayesian Network, making our approach applicable even to non-linear models parametrized by neural networks. We show that our method, called JSP-GFN, offers an accurate approximation of the joint posterior, while comparing favorably against existing methods on both simulated and real data.

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