M. Pawan Kumar












Worst-case Optimal Submodular Extensions for Marginal Estimation

P. Pansari, C. Russell and M. Pawan Kumar

In Proceedings of International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics (AISTATS), 2018

Submodular extensions of an energy function can be used to efficiently compute approximate marginals via variational inference. The accuracy of the marginals depends crucially on the quality of the submodular extension. To identify the best possible extension, we show an equivalence between the submodular extensions of the energy and the objective functions of linear programming (LP) relaxations for the corresponding MAP estimation problem. This allows us to (i) establish the worst-case optimality of the submodular extension for Potts model used in the literature; (ii) identify the worst-case optimal submodular extension for the more general class of metric labeling; and (iii) efficiently compute the marginals for the widely used dense CRF model with the help of a recently proposed Gaussian filtering method. Using synthetic and real data, we show that our approach provides comparable upper bounds on the log-partition function to those obtained using tree-reweighted message passing (TRW) in cases where the latter is computationally feasible. Importantly, unlike TRW, our approach provides the first practical algorithm to compute an upperbound on the dense CRF model.

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