Abstract

Belief propagation (BP) is a universal method of stochastic reasoning. It gives exact inference for stochastic models with tree interactions and works surprisingly well even if the models have loopy interactions. Its performance has been analyzed separately in many fields, such as AI, statistical physics, information theory, and information geometry. This article gives a unified framework for understanding BP and related methods and summarizes the results obtained in many fields. In particular, BP and its variants, including tree reparameterization and concave-convex procedure, are reformulated with information-geometrical terms, and their relations to the free energy function are elucidated from an information-geometrical viewpoint. We then propose a family of new algorithms. The stabilities of the algorithms are analyzed, and methods to accelerate them are investigated.

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