Factorial Hidden Markov Models

Unknown author (1996-02-09)

We present a framework for learning in hidden Markov models with distributed state representations. Within this framework, we derive a learning algorithm based on the Expectation--Maximization (EM) procedure for maximum likelihood estimation. Analogous to the standard Baum-Welch update rules, the M-step of our algorithm is exact and can be solved analytically. However, due to the combinatorial nature of the hidden state representation, the exact E-step is intractable. A simple and tractable mean field approximation is derived. Empirical results on a set of problems suggest that both the mean field approximation and Gibbs sampling are viable alternatives to the computationally expensive exact algorithm.