Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 28 (NIPS 2015)
Gunwoong Park, Garvesh Raskutti
In this paper, we address the question of identifiability and learning algorithms for large-scale Poisson Directed Acyclic Graphical (DAG) models. We define general Poisson DAG models as models where each node is a Poisson random variable with rate parameter depending on the values of the parents in the underlying DAG. First, we prove that Poisson DAG models are identifiable from observational data, and present a polynomial-time algorithm that learns the Poisson DAG model under suitable regularity conditions. The main idea behind our algorithm is based on overdispersion, in that variables that are conditionally Poisson are overdispersed relative to variables that are marginally Poisson. Our algorithms exploits overdispersion along with methods for learning sparse Poisson undirected graphical models for faster computation. We provide both theoretical guarantees and simulation results for both small and large-scale DAGs.