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R72
Stochastic Local Search for Bayesian Networks
Kalev Kask (kkask@ics.uci.edu) & Rina Dechter (dechter@ics.uci.edu)

Abstract
The paper evaluates empirically the suitability of Stochastic Local Search algorithms (SLS) for finding most probable explanations in Bayesian networks. SLS algorithms (e.g., GSAT, WSAT [16]) have recently proven to be highly effective in solving complex constraint-satisfaction and satisfiability problems which cannot be solved by traditional search schemes. Our experiments investigate the applicability of this scheme to probabilistic optimization problems. Speciffically, we show that algorithms combining hill-climbing steps with stochastic steps (guided by the network's probability distribution) called G+StS, outperform pure hill-climbing search, pure stochastic simulation search, as well as simulated annealing. In addition, variants of G+StS that are augmented on top of alternative approximation methods are shown to be particularly effective.

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