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Symbolic Variable Elimination for Discrete and Continuous Graphical Models

Last modified: 2012-07-14

#### Abstract

Probabilistic reasoning in the real-world often requires inference incontinuous variable graphical models, yet there are few methods for exact, closed-form inference when joint distributions are non-Gaussian. To address this inferential deficit, we introduce SVE -- a symbolic extension of the well-known variable elimination algorithm to perform exact inference in an expressive class of mixed discrete and continuous variable graphical models whose conditional probability functions can be well-approximated as piecewise combinations of polynomials with bounded support. Using this representation, we show that we can compute all of the SVE operations exactly and in closed-form, which crucially includes definite integration w.r.t. multivariate piecewise polynomial functions. To aid in the efficient computation and compact representation of this solution, we use an extended algebraic decision diagram (XADD) data structure that supports all SVE operations. We provide illustrative results for SVE on probabilistic inference queries inspired by robotics localization and tracking applications that mix various continuous distributions; this represents the first time a general closed-form exact solution has been proposed for this expressive class of discrete/continuous graphical models.

#### Keywords

Graphical Models; Dynamic Programming; Hybrid Discrete and Continuous Reasoning

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