Laplace's Method Approximations for Probabilistic Inference in Belief Networks with Continuous Variables
Adriano Azevedo-Filho, Ross Shachter
Laplace's method, a family of asymptotic methods used to approximate integrals, is presented as a potential candidate for the tool box of techniques used for knowledge acquisition and probabilistic inference in belief networks with continuous variables. This technique approximates posterior moments and marginal posterior distributions with reasonable accuracy [errors are O(n^-2) for posterior means] in many interesting cases. The method also seems promising for computing approximations for Bayes factors for use in the context of model selection, model uncertainty and mixtures of pdfs. The limitations, regularity conditions and computational difficulties for the implementation of Laplace's method are comparable to those associated with the methods of maximum likelihood and posterior mode analysis.
PDF Link: /papers/94/p28-azevedo-filho.pdf
AUTHOR = "Adriano Azevedo-Filho
and Ross Shachter",
TITLE = "Laplace's Method Approximations for Probabilistic Inference in Belief Networks with Continuous Variables",
BOOKTITLE = "Proceedings of the Tenth Conference Annual Conference on Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence (UAI-94)",
PUBLISHER = "Morgan Kaufmann",
ADDRESS = "San Francisco, CA",
YEAR = "1994",
PAGES = "28--36"