One of the fundamental problems in data mining and statistical analysis is to detect the relationships among a set of variables. To this end, researchers apply undirected graphical models in work, which combine graph theory and probability theory to create networks that model complex probabilistic relationships. By estimating the underlying graphical model, one can capture the direct dependence between variables. In the last few decades, undirected graphical models have attracted numerous attention in various areas such as genetics, neuroscience, finance and social science.

When the data is multivariate Gaussian distributed, detecting the
graphical model is equivalent to estimating the inverse covariance
matrix. **gif** package provides efficient solutions for
this problem. The core functions in **gif** package are
**hgt** and **sgt**.

These functions based on graphical independence filtering have several advantages:

Itâ€™s applicable to high-dimensional multivariate data and is comparable to or better than the state-of-the-art methods in respect to both graph structure recovery and parameter estimation.

The program is very efficient and can provide solutions for problem with over 10,000 variables in less than one minute. The following table shows the time comparison of

**gif**functions and other efficient approaches.

Method | \(p = 1000\) | \(p = 4000\) | \(p = 10000\) |
---|---|---|---|

hgt | 0.395s | 6.668s | 46.993s |

sgt | 0.225s | 3.099s | 21.454s |

QUIC | 1.580s | 117.041s | 1945.648s |

fastclime | 62.704s | *** | *** |

- It has comparable performance when dealing with continuous data under various distributions though it was designed for multivariate Gaussian distribution.

Particularly, **hgt** provides a solution for best
subset selection problem in Gaussian graphical models and
**sgt** offers closed-form solution equivalent to
*graphical lasso* when the graph structure is acyclic.

To install the development version from Github, run:

*Windows* user will need to install Rtools
first.

Take a synthetic dataset as a simple example to illustrate how to use
**hgt** and **sgt** to estimate the underlying
graphical model.

Using the function **ggm.generator**, we extract 200
samples from the graphical model with \(p =
100\) and whose graph structure is the so-called *AR(1)*.
A sketch of the example could be seen in the following picture.