Approximate Inference for Infinite Contingent Bayesian Networks


In many practical problems – from tracking aircraft based on radar data to building a bibliographic database based on citation lists – we want to reason about an unbounded number of unseen objects with unknown relations among them. Bayesian networks, which define a fixed dependency structure on a finite set of variables, are not the ideal representation language for this task. This paper introduces contingent Bayesian networks (CBNs), which represent uncertainty about dependencies by labeling each edge with a condition under which it is active. A CBN may contain cycles and have infinitely many variables. Nevertheless, we give general conditions under which such a CBN defines a unique joint distribution over its variables. We also present a likelihood weighting algorithm that performs approximate inference in finite time per sampling step on any CBN that satisfies these conditions.

Proceedings of the Tenth International Workshop on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics
David Sontag
David Sontag
Associate Professor of EECS

My research focuses on advancing machine learning and artificial intelligence, and using these to transform health care.