Pebl Introduction

Pebl is a python library and command line application for learning the structure of a Bayesian network given prior knowledge and observations. Pebl includes the following features:

  • Can learn with observational and interventional data
  • Handles missing values and hidden variables using exact and heuristic methods
  • Provides several learning algorithms; makes creating new ones simple
  • Has facilities for transparent parallel execution
  • Calculates edge marginals and consensus networks
  • Presents results in a variety of formats


Pebl is licensed under a permissive MIT-style license and can be downloaded from its Google code site or from the Python Package Index.


All Pebl analysis include data, a learner and a result. They may also include prior models and task controllers.

This is the set of observations that is used to score a given network. The data can include missing values and hidden/unobserved variables and observations can be marked as being the result of specific interventions. Data can be read from a file or created programatically.
A learner implements a specific learning algorithm. It is given some data, prior model and a stopping criteria and returns a result object.
A result object contains a list of the top-scoring networks found during a learner run and some statistics about the analysis. Results from different learning runs with the same data can be merged and visualized in various formats.
Prior Models
A key strength of Bayesian analysis is the ability to integrate knowledge with observations. A Pebl prior model specifies the prior belief about the set of possible networks and can include hard and soft constraints.
Task Controllers
Pebl uses task controllers to run analyses in parallel. Users can utilize multiple CPU cores or computational clusters without managing any of the details related to parallel programming.

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