Dynamic Conditional Random Fields: Factorized Probabilistic Models for Labeling and Segmenting Sequence Data

Charles Sutton, Andrew McCallum, Khashayar Rohanimanesh.

Year: 2007, Volume: 8, Issue: 25, Pages: 693−723


In sequence modeling, we often wish to represent complex interaction between labels, such as when performing multiple, cascaded labeling tasks on the same sequence, or when long-range dependencies exist. We present dynamic conditional random fields (DCRFs), a generalization of linear-chain conditional random fields (CRFs) in which each time slice contains a set of state variables and edges---a distributed state representation as in dynamic Bayesian networks (DBNs)---and parameters are tied across slices. Since exact inference can be intractable in such models, we perform approximate inference using several schedules for belief propagation, including tree-based reparameterization (TRP). On a natural-language chunking task, we show that a DCRF performs better than a series of linear-chain CRFs, achieving comparable performance using only half the training data. In addition to maximum conditional likelihood, we present two alternative approaches for training DCRFs: marginal likelihood training, for when we are primarily interested in predicting only a subset of the variables, and cascaded training, for when we have a distinct data set for each state variable, as in transfer learning. We evaluate marginal training and cascaded training on both synthetic data and real-world text data, finding that marginal training can improve accuracy when uncertainty exists over the latent variables, and that for transfer learning, a DCRF trained in a cascaded fashion performs better than a linear-chain CRF that predicts the final task directly.