Bayesian Model Selection of Gaussian Directed Acyclic Graph Structures

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During the last years, graphical models have become a popular tool to represent dependencies among variables in many scientific areas. Typically, the objective is to discover dependence relationships that can be represented through a directed acyclic graph (DAG). The set of all conditional independencies encoded by a DAG determines its Markov property. In general, DAGs encoding the same conditional independencies are not distinguishable from observational data and can be collected into equivalence classes, each one represented by a chain graph called essential graph (EG). However, both the DAG and EG space grow super exponentially in the number of variables, and so, graph structural learning requires the adoption of Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) techniques. In this paper, we review some recent results on Bayesian model selection of Gaussian DAG models under a unified framework. These results are based on closed-form expressions for the marginal likelihood of a DAG and EG structure, which is obtained from a few suitable assumptions on the prior for model parameters. We then introduce a general MCMC scheme that can be adopted both for model selection of DAGs and EGs together with a couple of applications on real data sets.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)N/A-N/A
JournalInternational Statistical Review
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Bayesian model selection
  • Markov equivalence
  • directed acyclic graph
  • essential graph
  • graphical model


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