On a Wider Class of Prior Distributions for Graphical Models

A fundamental system of graph cycles.


Gaussian graphical models are useful tools for conditional independence structure inference of multivariate random variables. Unfortunately, Bayesian inference of latent graph structures is challenging due to exponential growth of $\mathcal{G}_n$, the set of all graphs in n vertices. One approach that has been proposed to tackle this problem is to limit search to subsets of $\mathcal{G}_n$. In this paper, we study subsets that are vector subspaces with the cycle space $C_n$ as main example. We propose a novel prior on $C_n$ based on linear combinations of cycle basis elements and present its theoretical properties. Using this prior, we implemented a Markov chain Monte Carlo algorithm and show that (i) posterior edge inclusion estimates compared to the standard technique are comparable despite searching a smaller graph space and (ii) the vector space perspective enables straightforward MCMC algorithms.

Journal of Applied Probability
Abhinav Natarajan
Abhinav Natarajan
Doctoral student in mathematics

My research interests are in applied algebraic topology and geometry, statistics, and machine learning.