Dan Geiger, David Heckerman, Henry King, and Christopher Meek
We provide a classification of graphical models according to their representation as exponential families. Undirected graphical models with no hidden variables are linear exponential families (LEFs), directed acyclic graphical (DAG) models and chain graphs with no hidden variables, including DAG models with several families of local distributions, are curved exponential families (CEFs) and graphical models with hidden variables are stratified exponential families (SEFs). A SEF is a finite union of CEFs of various dimensions satisfying some regularity conditions. The main results of this paper are that graphical models are SEFs and that many graphical models are not CEFs. That is, roughly speaking, graphical models when viewed as exponential families correspond to a set of smooth manifolds of various dimensions and usually not to a single smooth manifold. These results are discussed in the context of model selection.