Credal Networks under Epistemic Irrelevance

01/27/2017 ∙ by Jasper De Bock, et al. ∙ 0

A credal network under epistemic irrelevance is a generalised type of Bayesian network that relaxes its two main building blocks. On the one hand, the local probabilities are allowed to be partially specified. On the other hand, the assessments of independence do not have to hold exactly. Conceptually, these two features turn credal networks under epistemic irrelevance into a powerful alternative to Bayesian networks, offering a more flexible approach to graph-based multivariate uncertainty modelling. However, in practice, they have long been perceived as very hard to work with, both theoretically and computationally. The aim of this paper is to demonstrate that this perception is no longer justified. We provide a general introduction to credal networks under epistemic irrelevance, give an overview of the state of the art, and present several new theoretical results. Most importantly, we explain how these results can be combined to allow for the design of recursive inference methods. We provide numerous concrete examples of how this can be achieved, and use these to demonstrate that computing with credal networks under epistemic irrelevance is most definitely feasible, and in some cases even highly efficient. We also discuss several philosophical aspects, including the lack of symmetry, how to deal with probability zero, the interpretation of lower expectations, the axiomatic status of graphoid properties, and the difference between updating and conditioning.



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