In the last decade probabilistic graphical models -- in particular Bayes networks and Markov networks -- became very popular as tools for structuring uncertain knowledge about a domain of interest and for building knowledge-based systems that allow sound and efficient inferences about this domain. The lecture gives a brief introduction into the core ideas underlying graphical models, starting from their relational counterparts and highlighting the relation between independence and decomposition. Furthermore, the basics of model construction and evidence propagation are discussed, with an emphasis on join/junction tree propagation. A substantial part of the lecture is then devoted to learning graphical models from data, in which quantitative learning (parameter estimation) as well as the more complex qualitative or structural learning (model selection) are studied.
Author: Christian Borgelt, European Center For Soft Computing