Learning Tractable Graphical Models
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Probabilistic graphical models have been successfully applied to a wide variety of fields such as computer vision, natural language processing, robotics, and many more. However, for large scale problems represented using unrestricted probabilistic graphical models, exact inference is often intractable, which means that the model cannot compute the correct value of a joint probability query in a reasonable time. In general, approximate inference has been used to address this intractability, in which the exact joint probability is approximated. An increasingly popular alternative is tractable models. These models are constrained such that exact inference is efficient. To offer efficient exact inference, tractable models either benefit from graph-theoretic properties, such as bounded treewidth, or structural properties such as local structures, determinism, or symmetry. An appealing group of probabilistic models that capture local structures and determinism includes arithmetic circuits (ACs) and sum-product networks (SPNs), in which marginal and conditional queries can be answered efficiently. In this dissertation, we describe ID-SPN, a state-of-the-art SPN learner as well as novel methods for learning tractable graphical models in a discriminative setting, in particular through introducing Generalized ACs, which combines ACs and neural networks. Using extensive experiments, we show that the proposed methods often achieves better performance comparing to selected baselines. This dissertation includes previously published and unpublished co-authored material.