# Estimation in tensor Ising models

INFORMATION AND INFERENCE-A JOURNAL OF THE IMA（2022）

Abstract

The p-tensor Ising model is a one-parameter discrete exponential family for modeling dependent binary data, where the sufficient statistic is a multi-linear form of degree p >= 2. This is a natural generalization of the matrix Ising model that provides a convenient mathematical framework for capturing, not just pairwise, but higher-order dependencies in complex relational data. In this paper, we consider the problem of estimating the natural parameter of the p-tensor Ising model given a single sample from the distribution on N nodes. Our estimate is based on the maximum pseudolikelihood (MPL) method, which provides a computationally efficient algorithm for estimating the parameter that avoids computing the intractable partition function. We derive general conditions under which the MPL estimate is root N-consistent, that is, it converges to the true parameter at rate 1/root N. Our conditions are robust enough to handle a variety of commonly used tensor Ising models, including spin glass models with random interactions and models where the rate of estimation undergoes a phase transition. In particular, this includes results on root N-consistency of the MPL estimate in the well-known p-spin Sherrington-Kirkpatrick model, spin systems on general p-uniform hypergraphs and Ising models on the hypergraph stochastic block model (HSBM). In fact, for the HSBM we pin down the exact location of the phase transition threshold, which is determined by the positivity of a certain mean-field variational problem, such that above this threshold the MPL estimate is root N-consistent, whereas below the threshold no estimator is consistent. Finally, we derive the precise fluctuations of the MPL estimate in the special case of the p-tensor Curie-Weiss model, which is the Ising model on the complete p-uniform hypergraph. An interesting consequence of our results is that the MPL estimate in the Curie-Weiss model saturates the Cramer-Rao lower bound at all points above the estimation threshold, that is, the MPL estimate incurs no loss in asymptotic statistical efficiency in the estimability regime, even though it is obtained by minimizing only an approximation of the true likelihood function for computational tractability.

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Key words

Markov random fields,parameter estimation,hypergraphs,phase transitions,pseudo-likelihood,spin systems

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