February 16, 2024

Conference Paper

## Extending Conformal Prediction to Hidden Markov Models with Exact Validity via de Finetti’s Theorem for Markov Chains

## Abstract

Conformal prediction is a widely used method to quantify uncertainty in settings where the data is independent and identically distributed (IID), or more generally, exchangeable. Conformal prediction takes in a pre-trained classifier and a calibration dataset as inputs, and returns a function which maps feature vectors to subsets of classes. The output of the returned function for a new feature vector is guaranteed to contain the true class with a pre-specified confidence. Despite its success and usefulness in IID settings, extending conformal prediction to non-exchangeable (e.g., Markovian) data in a manner that provably preserves all desirable theoretical properties has largely remained an open problem. As a solution, we extend conformal prediction to the setting of a Hidden Markov Model (HMM) with unknown parameters. The key idea behind the proposed method is to partition the non-exchangeable Markovian data from the HMM into exchangeable blocks by exploiting the de Finetti’s Theorem for Markov Chains discovered by Diaconis and Freedman (1980). The permutations of the exchangeable blocks are then viewed as randomizations of the observed Markovian data from the HMM. The proposed method provably retains all desirable theoretical guarantees offered by the classical conformal prediction framework and is general enough to be useful in many sequential prediction problems.*
Published: February 16, 2024*

## Citation

Nettasinghe D., S. Chatterjee, R. Tipireddy, and M. Halappanavar. 2023. Extending Conformal Prediction to Hidden Markov Models with Exact Validity via de Finetti’s Theorem for Markov Chains. In*Proceedings of Machine Learning Research: 40th International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML 2023), July 23-29, 2023, Honolulu, HI*, edited by A. Krause, et al, 25890--25903. Maastricht:ML Research Press. PNNL-SA-178224.