Distribution Estimation for Probabilistic Loops

Ahmad Karimi, Miroslav Stankovič, Marcel Moosbrugger, Laura Kovács, Ezio Bartocci and Efstathia Bura

We present an algorithmic approach to estimate the value distributions of random variables of probabilistic loops whose statistical moments are (partially) known. Based on these moments, we apply two statistical methods, Maximum Entropy and Gram-Charlier series, to estimate the distributions of the loop’s random variables. We measure the accuracy of our distribution estimation by comparing the resulting distributions using exact and estimated moments of the probabilistic loop, and performing statistical tests. We evaluate our method on several probabilistic loops with polynomial updates over random variables drawing from common probability distributions, including examples implementing financial and biological models. For this, we leverage symbolic approaches to compute exact higher-order moments of loops as well as use sampling-based techniques to estimate moments from loop executions. Our experimental results provide practical evidence of the accuracy of our method for estimating distributions of probabilistic loop outputs.