Probability Distribution on Full Rooted Trees

Yuta Nakahara*, Shota Saito, Akira Kamatsuka, Toshiyasu Matsushima

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


The recursive and hierarchical structure of full rooted trees is applicable to statistical models in various fields, such as data compression, image processing, and machine learning. In most of these cases, the full rooted tree is not a random variable; as such, model selection to avoid overfitting is problematic. One method to solve this problem is to assume a prior distribution on the full rooted trees. This enables the optimal model selection based on Bayes decision theory. For example, by assigning a low prior probability to a complex model, the maximum a posteriori estimator prevents the selection of the complex one. Furthermore, we can average all the models weighted by their posteriors. In this paper, we propose a probability distribution on a set of full rooted trees. Its parametric representation is suitable for calculating the properties of our distribution using recursive functions, such as the mode, expectation, and posterior distribution. Although such distributions have been proposed in previous studies, they are only applicable to specific applications. Therefore, we extract their mathematically essential components and derive new generalized methods to calculate the expectation, posterior distribution, etc.

Original languageEnglish
Article number328
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Mar


  • Bayes decision theory
  • Bayes statistics
  • Recursive algorithm
  • Rooted trees

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Mathematical Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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