On Learning Continuous Pairwise Markov Random Fields

Abhin Shah · Devavrat Shah · Gregory Wornell

[ Abstract ] [ Livestream: Visit Graphs and Networks ]
Wed 14 Apr 12:15 p.m. — 12:30 p.m. PDT

We consider learning a sparse pairwise Markov Random Field (MRF) with continuous-valued variables from i.i.d samples. We adapt the algorithm of Vuffray et al. (2019) to this setting and provide finite-sample analysis revealing sample complexity scaling logarithmically with the number of variables, as in the discrete and Gaussian settings. Our approach is applicable to a large class of pairwise MRFs with continuous variables and also has desirable asymptotic properties, including consistency and normality under mild conditions. Further, we establish that the population version of the optimization criterion employed in Vuffray et al. (2019) can be interpreted as local maximum likelihood estimation (MLE). As part of our analysis, we introduce a robust variation of sparse linear regression a` la Lasso, which may be of interest in its own right.

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