Learning Discrete Bayesian Networks from Continuous Data

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Authors Mykel John Kochenderfer, Yi-Chun Chen, Tim Allan Wheeler
Journal/Conference Name Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research
Paper Category
Paper Abstract Learning Bayesian networks from raw data can help provide insights into the relationships between variables. While real data often contains a mixture of discrete and continuous-valued variables, many Bayesian network structure learning algorithms assume all random variables are discrete. Thus, continuous variables are often discretized when learning a Bayesian network. However, the choice of discretization policy has significant impact on the accuracy, speed, and interpretability of the resulting models. This paper introduces a principled Bayesian discretization method for continuous variables in Bayesian networks with quadratic complexity instead of the cubic complexity of other standard techniques. Empirical demonstrations show that the proposed method is superior to the established minimum description length algorithm. In addition, this paper shows how to incorporate existing methods into the structure learning process to discretize all continuous variables and simultaneously learn Bayesian network structures.
Date of publication 2015
Code Programming Language Julia
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