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Factor Graphs and the SumProduct Algorithm
 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON INFORMATION THEORY
, 1998
"... A factor graph is a bipartite graph that expresses how a "global" function of many variables factors into a product of "local" functions. Factor graphs subsume many other graphical models including Bayesian networks, Markov random fields, and Tanner graphs. Following one simple computational rule, t ..."
Abstract

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A factor graph is a bipartite graph that expresses how a "global" function of many variables factors into a product of "local" functions. Factor graphs subsume many other graphical models including Bayesian networks, Markov random fields, and Tanner graphs. Following one simple computational rule, the sumproduct algorithm operates in factor graphs to computeeither exactly or approximatelyvarious marginal functions by distributed messagepassing in the graph. A wide variety of algorithms developed in artificial intelligence, signal processing, and digital communications can be derived as specific instances of the sumproduct algorithm, including the forward/backward algorithm, the Viterbi algorithm, the iterative "turbo" decoding algorithm, Pearl's belief propagation algorithm for Bayesian networks, the Kalman filter, and certain fast Fourier transform algorithms.