Archive for Bayesian computation

Advances in Scalable Bayesian Computation [group photo]

Posted in Kids, Mountains, pictures, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , on March 8, 2014 by xi'an

MCKSki 5, where willst thou be?!

Posted in Mountains, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 10, 2014 by xi'an

ridge7[Here is a call from the BayesComp Board for proposals for MCMSki 5, renamed as below to fit the BayesComp section. The earlier poll on the 'Og helped shape the proposal, with the year, 2016 vs. 2017, remaining open. I just added town to resort below as it did not sound from the poll people were terribly interested in resorts.]

The Bayesian Computation Section of ISBA is soliciting proposals to host its flagship conference:

Bayesian Computing at MCMSki

The expectation is that the meeting will be held in January 2016, but the committee will consider proposals for other times through January 2017.

This meeting will be the next incarnation of the popular MCMSki series that addresses recent advances in the theory and application of Bayesian computational methods such as MCMC, all in the context of a world-class ski resort/town. While past meetings have taken place in the Alps and the Rocky Mountains, we encourage applications from any venue that could support MCMSki. A three-day meeting is planned, perhaps with an additional day or two of satellite meetings and/or short courses.

One page proposals should address feasibility of hosting the meeting including

1. Proposed dates.
2. Transportation for international participants (both the proximity of international airports and transportation to/from the venue).
3. The conference facilities.
4. The availability and cost of hotels, including low cost options.
5. The proposed local organizing committee and their collective experience organizing international meetings.
6. Expected or promised contributions from the host organization, host country, or industrial partners towards the cost of running the meetings.

Proposals should be submitted to David van Dyk (dvandyk, BayesComp Program Chair) at no later than May 31, 2014.

The Board of Bayesian Computing Section will evaluate the proposals, choose a venue, and appoint the Program Committee for Bayesian Computing at MCMSki.

BayesComp homepage

Posted in R, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , on April 15, 2013 by xi'an

Today, the BayesComp section of ISBA launched its website. It is organised as a wiki and members of the section are strongly incited to take part into the construction of the website. To quote from Peter Green’s introduction:

This new Wikidot site aims to be a community-edited resource on all aspects of Bayesian computation, available for all to read; here ‘community’ means members of the section – we hope that interested members will help us create pages of information and advice to help disseminate new research ideas in an accessible way, and promote good practice. Members can also submit links to a directory of papers, slides, videos and software, and to a diary of upcoming events such as conferences and workshops, all through easy-to-use forms.

Please visit BayesComp, read the Quick Start Guide there, actively contribute to the site’s content, and let us have feedback using the blog facility provided. Once you have editing credentials on the site, you do not need permission to make edits, just do it! Section officers may tidy things up later, if no one else does, but we won’t delete anything unless it is offensive or plainly wrong.

Thanks to the inputs of Peter Green and of Nicolas Chopin, this could be a wonderful exchange tool for the community, but only if this community strives to keep it alive!

the anti-Bayesian moment and its passing

Posted in Books, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , , , on October 30, 2012 by xi'an

Today, our reply to the discussion of our American Statistician paper “Not only defended but also applied” by Stephen Fienberg, Wes Johnson, Deborah Mayo, and Stephen Stiegler,, was posted on arXiv. It is kind of funny that this happens the day I am visiting Iowa State University Statistics Department, a department that was formerly a Fisherian and thus anti-Bayesian stronghold. (Not any longer, to be sure! I was also surprised to discover that before the creation of the department, Henry Wallace, came to lecture on machine calculations for statistical methods…in 1924!)

The reply to the discussion was rewritten and much broadened by Andrew after I drafted a more classical point-by-point reply to our four discussants, much to its improvement. For one thing, it reads well on its own, as the discussions are not yet available on-line. For another, it gives a broader impact of the discussion, which suits well the readership of The American Statistician. (Some of my draft reply is recycled in this post.)

Continue reading

join ISBA

Posted in University life with tags , , , , , on October 22, 2011 by xi'an

News from ISBA: good time to join for new members! (There is a section on Bayesian non-parametrics and another one on Objective Bayesian methodology. Feel free to propose new sections, like…Bayesian computing.)

ISBA elections  are underway and as part of the Bayesian community we hope that you will participate!  We are updating the electoral lists nightly so if you added a membership after the 15th of October  you will have the opportunity to vote.

We are running a new member promotion: all new members who join ISBA now will have their membership extended by an extra year (except for Lifetime memberships which never expire)!   For example, a 1 year Student membership will expire December 31, 2012, rather than December 31 2011.  Member dues are modest – $15 for student or reduced rate memberships or $35 for regular memberships. This promotion also applies to  all new section memberships in the Objective Bayes or the Bayesian Nonparametrics sections!   Section dues are $5 annually and are available with 1-3 year options to synchronize with ISBA dues; Section Lifetime memberships are available for $75.  You must be a section member to vote in the section elections.

News on MCMSki III

Posted in Mountains, R, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2010 by xi'an

Here is a message sent by the organisers of MCMSki III in Utah next early January. When registering, make sure to tick the free $50 registration for Adap’skiii as well!

The fourth joint international meeting of the IMS (Institute of Mathematical Statistics) and ISBA (International Society for Bayesian Analysis), nicknamed “MCMSki III“, will be held at The Canyons resort in Park City, Utah from Wednesday, January 5 to Friday, January 7, 2011. The central (but not sole) theme of the conference will be  Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) and related methods and applications, and will feature 3 plenary speakers (Nicky Best, Mike Newton, Jeff Rosenthal) and six invited sessions from internationally known experts covering a broad array of current and developing statistical practice:

* Environmental Health Statistics (organized by: Montse Fuentes)
* Modeling Dependence for High Throughput Data (organized by: Peter Mueller)
* Advances in MCMC for Genomics (organized by: Giovanni Parmigiani and Clelia DiSerio)
* MCMC for Computationally Intensive Inverse Problems (organized by: Dave Higdon)
* Bayes versus Frequentism in Observational Studies (organized by: Sander Greenland)

In addition, a pre-conference “AdapSki” satellite meeting on adaptive and other advanced MCMC methods will take place on January 3-4,  2011, with Profs. Christian Robert and Christophe Andrieu again serving as lead organizers.

From our registration page, you will find links to the IMS-sponsored conference registration page, the Canyons lodging page, and our abstract submission page.  Please note the “early bird” registration deadline of *November 1, 2010*.

Finally (and most importantly for some), we are very pleased to announce that we have received funds from NSF, NSA, NIH, and ISBA sufficient to help support the travel expenses of perhaps 30 junior investigators (defined as current PhD student, or less than 5 years since PhD).  Some of these funds (NSA) are restricted to students from the U.S., while others (ISBA) are primarily intended for students from economically disadvantaged countries. At the time you register for this support, in addition to the three required items you send by email (copy of your CV, copy of your paper, and *brief* supporting note from your advisor), please also submit your abstract and indicate whether or not you would like to be considered for one of 4 oral presentation slots in our new Young Investigator Invited Session (10 am on Thursday Jan 6).  Please note that the deadline for applying for this support is *October 22, 2010*; again, the deadline to register for the conference itself without a late fee is November 1, 2010.

We look forward to welcoming you in Park City this January!


Brad Carlin and Antonietta Mira, MCMSki III conference co-organizers
Shane Reese, MCMSki III local arrangements chair

NIPS 2010: Monte Carlo workshop

Posted in Mountains, R, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , on September 3, 2010 by xi'an

In the wake of the main machine learning NIPS 2010 meeting in Vancouver, Dec. 6-9 2010, there will be a very interesting workshop organised by Ryan Adams, Mark Girolami, and Iain Murray on Monte Carlo Methods for Bayesian Inference in Modern Day Applications, on Dec. 10. (And in Whistler, not Vancouver!) I wish I could attend, but going to a conference in honour of Larry Brown’s 70th birthday in Wharton the week after makes it impossible…

Monte Carlo methods have been the dominant form of approximate inference for Bayesian statistics over the last couple of decades. Monte Carlo methods are interesting as a technical topic of research in themselves, as well as enjoying widespread practical use. In a diverse number of application areas Monte Carlo methods have enabled Bayesian inference over classes of statistical models which previously would have been infeasible. Despite this broad and sustained attention, it is often still far from clear how best to set up a Monte Carlo method for a given problem, how to diagnose if it is working well, and how to improve under-performing methods. The impact of these issues is even more pronounced with new emerging applications.

What does the workshop address and accomplish?

Identifying features of applications of Monte Carlo methods: This workshop is aimed equally at practitioners and core Monte Carlo researchers. For practitioners we hope to identify what properties of applications are important for selecting, running and checking a Monte Carlo algorithm. Monte Carlo methods are applied to a broad variety of problems. The workshop aims to identify and explore what properties of these disparate areas are important to think about when applying Monte Carlo methods.


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