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(Source: HP Research Labs) Longstanding math problem is solved (August 2010)
(Source: HP Research Labs) Longstanding math problem is solved (August 2010)

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05/07/2015

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## Sections

Thecentralconcernofthisworkhasbeentounderstandwhataretheirreducible

interactions between the variables in a system — namely, those that cannot be

expressed in terms of interactions between smaller sets of variables with con-

ditional independencies between them. Such irreducible interactions can be

2-interactions (between pairs), 3-interactions (between triples), and so on, up to

n-interactions between all n variables simultaneously.

A joint distribution encodes the interaction of a system of n variables. What

would happen if all the direct interactions between variables in the system were

all of less than a certain ﬁnite range k, with k < n? In such a case, the “joint-

ness” of the covariates really would lie at a lower “level” than n. We would like

to measure the “level” of conditional independence in a system of interacting

variables by inspecting their joint distribution. At level zero of this “hierarchy”,

the covariates should be independent of each other. At level n, they are coupled

together n at a time, without the possibility of being decoupled. In this way,

we can make statements about how deeply entrenched the conditional inde-

pendence between the covariates is, or dually, about how large the set of direct

interactions between variables is.

This picture is captured by the number of independent parameters required

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7. SEPARATION OF COMPLEXITY CLASSES

65

to parametrize the distribution. When the largest irreducible interactions are

k-interactions, the distribution can be parametrized with n2k

independent pa-

rameters. Thus, in families of distributions where the irreducible interactions

are of ﬁxed size, the independent parameter space grows polynomially with n,

whereas in a general distribution without any conditional independencies, it

grows exponentially with n. The case of LFP lies in between — the interactions

are not of ﬁxed size, but they grow relatively slowly.

There are some technical issues with constructing such a hierarchy to mea-

sure conditional independence. The ﬁrst issue would be how to measure the

level of a distribution in this hierarchy. If, for instance, the distribution has a

directed P-map, then we could measure the size of the largest clique that ap-

pears in its moralized graph. However, as noted in Sec. 2.5, not all distributions

have such maps. We may, of course, upper and lower bound the level using

minimal I-maps and maximal D-maps for the distribution. In the case of or-

dered graphs, we should note that there may be different minimal I-maps for

the same distribution for different orderings of the variables. See [KF09, p. 80]

for an example.

The insight that allows us to resolve the issue is as follows. If we could

somehow embed the distribution of solutions generated by LFP into a larger dis-

tribution, such that

1. the larger distribution factorized recursively according to some directed

graphical model, and

2. the larger distribution had only polynomially many more variates than

the original one,

then we would have obtained a parametrization of our distribution that would

reﬂect the factorization of the larger distribution, and would cost us only poly-

nomially more, which does not affect us.

By pursuing the above course, we aim to demonstrate that distributions of

solutionsgeneratedbyLFPlieatalower levelofconditionalindependencethan

distributions that occur in the d1RSB phase of random k-SAT. Consequently,

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7. SEPARATION OF COMPLEXITY CLASSES

66

they have more economical parametrizations than the space of solutions in the

1dRSB phase does.

First we describe how we use LFP to create a distribution of solutions.