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Belief Propagation and Statistical Physics

By Payam Pakzad and Venkat Anantharam


It was shown recently in [1] that there is a close connection between the belief propagation algorithm and certain approximations to the variational free energy in statistical physics. Specifically, the fixed points of the belief propagation algorithm are shown to coincide with the stationary points of the Bethe's approximate free energy subject to consistency constraints. Bethe's approximation is known as a special case of a general class of approximations called Kikuchi free energy approximations. A general class of belief propagation algorithms was also introduced in [1], which attempts to find the stationary points of a general Kikuchi free energy functional

Year: 2002
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