Data Likelihood describes a set of metrics that calculate the likelihood of the synthetic data belonging to the real data. This metric uses a Bayesian Network to make this calculation.

Data Compatibility

  • Categorical: This metric is meant for discrete, categorical data

  • Boolean: This metric works on boolean data

This metric ignores any incompatible column types.

This metric does not accept missing values


(highest) ∞: According to the algorithm, the synthetic data has the highest possible likelihood of belonging to the real data

(lowest) -∞: According to the algorithm used, the synthetic data has the lowest possible likelihood of belonging to the real data

There are multiple interpretations of the score. A high score can indicates high synthetic data quality as well as low privacy. A low score can indicate low synthetic data quality as well as high privacy.

How does it work?

This metric uses a Bayesian Network [1] from pomegranate [2] to learn the distribution of the real data. The model learns to produce a likelihood estimate for every row ranging from 0 to 1, where 0 means the row is likely not part of the data and 1 means that it is.

We apply the model to all the synthetic data and return the average likelihood score.


You will need to install the pomegranate library in order to use this metric

pip install pomegranate

Access this metric from the single_table module and use the compute method.

from sdmetrics.single_table import BNLikelihood



  • (required) real_data: A pandas.DataFrame containing the real data

  • (required) synthetic_data: A pandas.DataFrame containing the same columns of synthetic data

  • metadata: A metadata dictionary describing the columns (see Single Table Metadata)

  • structure: The BayesianNetwork structure to use when fitting to the real data. If not passed, learn it from the data using the Chow-Liu algorithm [3].


This metric is in Beta. Be careful when using the metric and interpreting its score.

  • The score heavily depends on algorithm used to model the data. If the overall distribution of the real data cannot be learned well, then the likelihood estimates of the synthetic data may not be valid.

  • There are multiple interpretations for this metric. (See the Score section above.) Of course, this is heavily dependent on how well we trust the algorithm to model the real data.





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