Radford Neal, Matthew Beal, Sam Roweis
We describe a Markov chain method for sampling from the distribution of the hidden state sequence in a non-linear dynamical system, given a sequence of observations. This method updates all states in the sequence simultaneously using an embedded Hidden Markov Model (HMM). An update begins with the creation of “pools” of candidate states at each time. We then deﬁne an embedded HMM whose states are indexes within these pools. Using a forward-backward dynamic programming algo- rithm, we can efﬁciently choose a state sequence with the appropriate probabilities from the exponentially large number of state sequences that pass through states in these pools. We illustrate the method in a simple one-dimensional example, and in an example showing how an embed- ded HMM can be used to in effect discretize the state space without any discretization error. We also compare the embedded HMM to a particle smoother on a more substantial problem of inferring human motion from 2D traces of markers.