Hidden Markov random field

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A hidden Markov random field is a generalization of a hidden Markov model. Instead of having an underlying Markov chain, hidden Markov random fields have an underlying Markov random field.

Suppose that we observe a random variable , where . Hidden Markov random fields assume that the probabilistic nature of is determined by the unobservable Markov random field , . That is, given the neighbors of , is independent of all other (Markov property). The main difference with a hidden Markov model is that neighborhood is not defined in 1 dimension but within a network, i.e. is allowed to have more than the two neighbors that it would have in a Markov chain. The model is formulated in such a way that given , are independent (conditional independence of the observable variables given the Markov random field).

In the vast majority of the related literature, the number of possible latent states is considered a user-defined constant. However, ideas from nonparametric Bayesian statistics, which allow for data-driven inference of the number of states, have been also recently investigated with success, e.g.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sotirios P. Chatzis, Gabriel Tsechpenakis, “The Infinite Hidden Markov Random Field Model,” IEEE Transactions on Neural Networks, vol. 21, no. 6, pp. 1004-1014, June 2010. [1]