New Techniques for Learning Parameters in Bayesian Networks.
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One of the hardest challenges in building a realistic Bayesian network (BN) model is to construct the node probability tables (NPTs). Even with a fixed predefined model structure and very large amounts of relevant data, machine learning methods do not consistently achieve great accuracy compared to the ground truth when learning the NPT entries (parameters). Hence, it is widely believed that incorporating expert judgment or related domain knowledge can improve the parameter learning accuracy. This is especially true in the sparse data situation. Expert judgments come in many forms. In this thesis we focus on expert judgment that specifies inequality or equality relationships among variables. Related domain knowledge is data that comes from a different but related problem. By exploiting expert judgment and related knowledge, this thesis makes novel contributions to improve the BN parameter learning performance, including: • The multinomial parameter learning model with interior constraints (MPL-C) and exterior constraints (MPL-EC). This model itself is an auxiliary BN, which encodes the multinomial parameter learning process and constraints elicited from the expert judgments. • The BN parameter transfer learning (BNPTL) algorithm. Given some potentially related (source) BNs, this algorithm automatically explores the most relevant source BN and BN fragments, and fuses the selected source and target parameters in a robust way. • A generic BN parameter learning framework. This framework uses both expert judgments and transferred knowledge to improve the learning accuracy. This framework transfers the mined data statistics from the source network as the parameter priors of the target network. Experiments based on the BNs from a well-known repository as well as two realworld case studies using different data sample sizes demonstrate that the proposed new approaches can achieve much greater learning accuracy compared to other state-of-theart methods with relatively sparse data.
- Theses