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Polynomial-Time Constrained Message Passing for Exact MAP Inference on Discrete Models with Global Dependencies

Alexander Bauer
Shinichi Nakajima
Klaus-Robert Müller

April 07, 2023

Considering the worst-case scenario, the junction-tree algorithm remains the most general solution for exact MAP inference with polynomial run-time guarantees. Unfortunately, its main tractability assumption requires the treewidth of a corresponding MRF to be bounded, strongly limiting the range of admissible applications. In fact, many practical problems in the area of structured prediction require modeling global dependencies by either directly introducing global factors or enforcing global constraints on the prediction variables. However, this always results in a fully-connected graph, making exact inferences by means of this algorithm intractable. Previous works focusing on the problem of loss-augmented inference have demonstrated how efficient inference can be performed on models with specific global factors representing non-decomposable loss functions within the training regime of SSVMs. Making the observation that the same fundamental idea can be applied to solve a broader class of computational problems, in this paper, we adjust the framework for an efficient exact inference proposed in to allow much finer interactions between the energy of the core model and the sufficient statistics of the global terms. As a result, we greatly increase the range of admissible applications and strongly improve upon the theoretical guarantees of computational efficiency. We illustrate the applicability of our method in several use cases, including one that is not covered by the previous problem formulation. Furthermore, we propose a new graph transformation technique via node cloning, which ensures a polynomial run-time for solving our target problem. In particular, the overall computational complexity of our constrained message-passing algorithm depends only on form-independent quantities such as the treewidth of a corresponding graph (without global connections) and image size of the sufficient statistics of the global terms.