Bayesian networks are a powerful probabilistic representation, and their use for classification has received considerable attention. However, they tend to perform poorly when learned in the standard way. This is attributable to a mismatch between the objective function used (likelihood or a function thereof) and the goal of classification (maximizing accuracy or conditional likelihood). Unfortunately, the computational cost of optimizing structure and parameters for conditional likelihood is prohibitive. In this paper we show that a simple approximation— choosing structures by maximizing conditional likelihood while setting parameters by maximum likelihood—yields good results. On a large suite of benchmark datasets, this approach produces better class probability estimates than naive Bayes, TAN, and generatively-trained Bayesian networks. 1
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