- 5 weeks long
- 30 hours to complete
- Learn for FREE, Up-gradable
- Taught by: Daphne Koller, Professor
- View Course Syllabus
About This University Online Course:
Probabilistic graphical models (PGMs) are a rich framework for encoding probability distributions over complex domains: joint (multivariate) distributions over large numbers of random variables that interact with each other. These representations sit at the intersection of statistics and computer science, relying on concepts from probability theory, graph algorithms, machine learning, and more. They are the basis for the state-of-the-art methods in a wide variety of applications, such as medical diagnosis, image understanding, speech recognition, natural language processing, and many, many more. They are also a foundational tool in formulating many machine learning problems.
This course is the first in a sequence of three. It describes the two basic PGM representations: Bayesian Networks, which rely on a directed graph; and Markov networks, which use an undirected graph. The course discusses both the theoretical properties of these representations as well as their use in practice. The (highly recommended) honors track contains several hands-on assignments on how to represent some real-world problems. The course also presents some important extensions beyond the basic PGM representation, which allow more complex models to be encoded compactly.
Online Course Syllabus:
The course is four modules long and is designed to be completed in four weeks.
Introduction and Overview
In this module, we define the Bayesian network representation and its semantics. We also analyze the relationship between the graph structure and the independence properties of a distribution represented over that graph. Finally, we give some practical tips on how to model a real-world situation as a Bayesian network.
A table-based representation of a CPD in a Bayesian network has a size that grows exponentially in the number of parents. There are a variety of other form of CPD that exploit some type of structure in the dependency model to allow for a much more compact representation. Here we describe a number of the ones most commonly used in practice.
Markov Networks (Undirected Models)
In this module, we describe Markov networks (also called Markov random fields): probabilistic graphical models based on an undirected graph representation. We discuss the representation of these models and their semantics. We also analyze the independence properties of distributions encoded by these graphs, and their relationship to the graph structure. We compare these independencies to those encoded by a Bayesian network, giving us some insight on which type of model is more suitable for which scenarios.