# Efficient Exact Inference in Planar Ising Models

We give polynomial-time algorithms for the exact computation of lowest-energy (ground) states, worst margin violators, log partition functions, and marginal edge probabilities in certain binary undirected graphical models. Our approach provides an interesting alternative to the well-known graph cut paradigm in that it does not impose any submodularity constraints; instead we require planarity to establish a correspondence with perfect matchings (dimer coverings) in an expanded dual graph. We implement a unified framework while delegating complex but well-understood subproblems (planar embedding, maximum-weight perfect matching) to established algorithms for which efficient implementations are freely available. Unlike graph cut methods, we can perform penalized maximum-likelihood as well as maximum-margin parameter estimation in the associated conditional random fields (CRFs), and employ marginal posterior probabilities as well as maximum a posteriori (MAP) states for prediction. Maximum-margin CRF parameter estimation on image denoising and segmentation problems shows our approach to be efficient and effective. A C++ implementation is available from http://nic.schraudolph.org/isinf/

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