Scalable Bayesian Inference for Excitatory Point Process Networks

Linderman, S. W., & Adams, R. P. (2015). Scalable Bayesian Inference for Excitatory Point Process Networks.
Networks capture our intuition about relationships in the world. They describe the friendships between Facebook users, interactions in financial markets, and synapses connecting neurons in the brain. These networks are richly structured with cliques of friends, sectors of stocks, and a smorgasbord of cell types that govern how neurons connect. Some networks, like social network friendships, can be directly observed, but in many cases we only have an indirect view of the network through the actions of its constituents and an understanding of how the network mediates that activity. In this work, we focus on the problem of latent network discovery in the case where the observable activity takes the form of a mutually-excitatory point process known as a Hawkes process. We build on previous work that has taken a Bayesian approach to this problem, specifying prior distributions over the latent network structure and a likelihood of observed activity given this network. We extend this work by proposing a discrete-time formulation and developing a computationally efficient stochastic variational inference (SVI) algorithm that allows us to scale the approach to long sequences of observations. We demonstrate our algorithm on the calcium imaging data used in the Chalearn neural connectomics challenge.
  year = {2015},
  author = {Linderman, Scott W. and Adams, Ryan P.},
  title = {Scalable Bayesian Inference for Excitatory Point Process Networks},
  note = {arXiv:1507.03228 [stat.ML]},
  keywords = {Hawkes processes, Bayesian methods, variational inference, neuroscience, scalable inference, time series}