We consider the problem of learning Bayesian network classifiers that maximize the margin over a set of classification variables. We find that this problem is harder for Bayesian networks than for undirected graphical models like maximum margin Markov networks. The main difficulty is that the parameters in a Bayesian network must satisfy additional normalization constraints that an undirected graphical model need not respect. These additional constraints complicate the optimization task. Nevertheless, we derive an effective training algorithm that solves the maximum margin training problem for a range of Bayesian network topologies, and converges to an approximate solution for arbitrary network topologies. Experimental results show that the method can demonstrate improved generalization performance over Markov networks when the directed graphical structure encodes relevant knowledge. In practice, the training technique allows one to combine prior knowledge expressed as a directed (causal) model with state of the art discriminative learning methods.

21st Conference on Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence, UAI 2005
School of Computer Science

Guo, Y, Wilkinson, D. (Dana), & Schuurmans, D. (Dale). (2005). Maximum margin Bayesian networks. In Proceedings of the 21st Conference on Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence, UAI 2005 (pp. 233–242).