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Bayesian Conditional Gaussian Network Classifiers with Applications to Mass Spectra Classification

by   Victor Bellon, et al.
Uni Halle

Classifiers based on probabilistic graphical models are very effective. In continuous domains, maximum likelihood is usually used to assess the predictions of those classifiers. When data is scarce, this can easily lead to overfitting. In any probabilistic setting, Bayesian averaging (BA) provides theoretically optimal predictions and is known to be robust to overfitting. In this work we introduce Bayesian Conditional Gaussian Network Classifiers, which efficiently perform exact Bayesian averaging over the parameters. We evaluate the proposed classifiers against the maximum likelihood alternatives proposed so far over standard UCI datasets, concluding that performing BA improves the quality of the assessed probabilities (conditional log likelihood) whilst maintaining the error rate. Overfitting is more likely to occur in domains where the number of data items is small and the number of variables is large. These two conditions are met in the realm of bioinformatics, where the early diagnosis of cancer from mass spectra is a relevant task. We provide an application of our classification framework to that problem, comparing it with the standard maximum likelihood alternative, where the improvement of quality in the assessed probabilities is confirmed.


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