Parameter estimation for Gibbs distributions
A central problem in computational statistics is to convert a procedure for sampling combinatorial objects into a procedure for counting those objects, and vice versa. We will consider sampling problems which come from Gibbs distributions, which are families of probability distributions over a discrete space Ω with probability mass function of the form μ^Ω_β(ω) ∝ e^{β H(ω)} for β in an interval [β_min, β_max] and H(ω) ∈ {0} ∪ [1, n].
The partition function is the normalization factor Z(β) = ∑_{ω ∈ Ω} e^{β H(ω)}, and the log partition ratio is defined as q = (log Z(β_max))/Z(β_min)
We develop a number of algorithms to estimate the counts c_x using roughly Õ(q/ε²) samples for general Gibbs distributions and Õ(n²/ε²) samples for integer-valued distributions (ignoring some second-order terms and parameters), We show this is optimal up to logarithmic factors. We illustrate with improved algorithms for counting connected subgraphs and perfect matchings in a graph.
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Schloss Dagstuhl - Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik
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