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Publications & Technical Reports

From Exact to Anytime Solutions for Marginal MAP
Junkyu Lee, Radu Marinescu, Rina Dechter and Alexander Ihler

This paper explores the anytime performance of search-based algorithms for solving the Marginal MAP task over graphical models. The current state-of-the-art for solving this challenging task is based on best-first search exploring the AND/OR graph with the guidance of heuristics based on mini-bucket and variational cost-shifting principles. Yet, those schemes are uncompromising in that they solve the problem exactly, or not at all, and often suffer from memory problems. In this work, we explore the well known principle of weighted search for converting best-first search solvers into anytime schemes. The weighted best-first search schemes report a solution early in the process by using inadmissible heuristics, and subsequently improve the solution. While it was demonstrated recently that weighted schemes can yield effective anytime behavior for pure MAP tasks, Marginal MAP is far more challenging (e.g., a conditional sum must be evaluated for every solution). Yet, in an extensive empirical analysis we show that weighted schemes are indeed highly effective anytime solvers for Marginal MAP yielding the most competitive schemes to date for this task.