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Connectionist learning of belief networks. (English) Zbl 0761.68081
Summary: Connectionist learning procedures are presented for “sigmoid” and “noisy-OR” varieties of probabilistic belief networks. These networks have previously been seen primarily as a means of representing knowledge derived from experts. Here it is shown that the “Gibbs sampling” simulation procedure for such networks can support maximum-likelihood learning from empirical data through local gradient ascent. This learning procedure resembles that used for “Boltzmann machines”, and like it, allows the use of “hidden” variables to model correlations between visible variables. Due to the directed nature of the connections in a belief network, however, the “negative phase” of Boltzmann machine learning is unnecessary. Experimental results show that, as a result, learning in a sigmoid belief network can be faster than in a Boltzmann machine. These networks have other advantages over Boltzmann machines in pattern classification and decision making applications, are naturally applicable to unsupervised learning problems, and provide a link between work on connectionist learning and work on the representation of expert knowledge.

68T05 Learning and adaptive systems in artificial intelligence
68T30 Knowledge representation
Full Text: DOI
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