For Markov random fields on ℤd with finite state space, we address the statistical estimation of the basic neighborhood, the smallest region that determines the conditional distribution at a site on the condition that the values at all other sites are given. A modification of the Bayesian Information Criterion, replacing likelihood by pseudo-likelihood, is proved to provide strongly consistent estimation from observing a realization of the field on increasing finite regions: the estimated basic neighborhood equals the true one eventually almost surely, not assuming any prior bound on the size of the latter. Stationarity of the Markov field is not required, and phase transition does not affect the results.
"Consistent estimation of the basic neighborhood of Markov random fields." Ann. Statist. 34 (1) 123 - 145, February 2006. https://doi.org/10.1214/009053605000000912