Factor graphs and the sum-product algorithm


Dear Journal Club members,

Our next meeting will be on March 14th, at noon in room 3160 of the Discovery Building. For this meeting we have selected the a paper by Kschischang et al, Factor graphs and the sum-product algorithm from IEEE. The abstract is presented below.

Algorithms that must deal with complicated global functions of many variables often exploit the manner in which the given functions factor as a product of “local” functions, each of which depends on a subset of the variables. Such a factorization can be visualized with a bipartite graph that we call a factor graph, In this tutorial paper, we present a generic message-passing algorithm, the sum-product algorithm, that operates in a factor graph. Following a single, simple computational rule, the sum-product algorithm computes-either exactly or approximately-various marginal functions derived from the global function. A wide variety of algorithms developed in artificial intelligence, signal processing, and digital communications can be derived as specific instances of the sum-product algorithm, including the forward/backward algorithm, the Viterbi algorithm, the iterative “turbo” decoding algorithm, Pearl’s (1988) belief propagation algorithm for Bayesian networks, the Kalman filter, and certain fast Fourier transform (FFT) algorithms

Please feel free to start the discussion in the comments section below.

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