Exploiting causal independence in large Bayesian networks

Rasa Jurgelenaite*, Peter J.F. Lucas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


The assessment of a probability distribution associated with a Bayesian network is a challenging task, even if its topology is sparse. Special probability distributions based on the notion of causal independence have therefore been proposed, as these allow defining a probability distribution in terms of Boolean combinations of local distributions. However, for very large networks even this approach becomes infeasible: in Bayesian networks which need to model a large number of interactions among causal mechanisms, such as in fields like genetics or immunology, it is necessary to further reduce the number of parameters that need to be assessed. In this paper, we propose using equivalence classes of binomial distributions as a means to define very large Bayesian networks. We analyse the behaviours obtained by using different symmetric Boolean functions with these probability distributions as a means to model joint interactions. Some surprisingly complicated behaviours are obtained in this fashion, and their intuitive basis is examined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-162
Number of pages10
JournalKnowledge-based systems
Issue number4-5
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Bayesian networks
  • Causal independence
  • Knowledge representation
  • Parameter estimation
  • Probability theory
  • n/a OA procedure


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