**Y**esterday night, we went to a very special restaurant in down-town Paris, called “dans le noir” where meals take place in complete darkness (truly “dans le noir”!). Complete in the sense it is impossible to see one’s hand and one’s glass. The waiters are blind and the experiment turns them into our guides, as we are unable to progress or eat in the dark! In addition to this highly informative experiment, it was fun to guess the food (easy!) and even more to fail miserably at guessing the colour of the wine (a white Minervois made from Syrah that tasted very much like a red, either from Languedoc-Roussillon or from Bordeaux…!) The food was fine if not outstanding (the owner told us how cooking too refined a meal led to terrible feedbacks from the customers as they could not guess what they were eating) and the wine very good (no picture for the ‘Og, obviously!). This was my daughter’s long-time choice for her 18th birthday dinner and a definitely outstanding idea! So if you have the opportunity to try one of those restaurants (in Barcelona Paseo Picasso, London Clerkenwell, ~~New York~~, Paris Les Halles, or Saint-Petersbourg), I strongly suggest you to make the move. Eating will never feel the same!

## Archive for Paris

## dans le noir

Posted in Kids, pictures, Travel, Wines with tags birthday, blindness, Bordeaux, dans le noir, Languedoc-Roussillon, Les Halles, Minervois, Paris on August 27, 2014 by xi'an## impressions, soleil couchant

Posted in pictures, Travel with tags Paris, Paris suburbs, plane, RER B, Roissy, sunset, train on July 9, 2014 by xi'an## vector quantile regression

Posted in pictures, Statistics, University life with tags CEREMADE, Monte Carlo methods, multivariate quantile, nonparametrics, Paris, quantile regression, simulation, Université Paris Dauphine on July 4, 2014 by xi'an**M**y Paris-Dauphine colleague Guillaume Carlier recently arXived a statistics paper entitled *Vector quantile regression*, co-written with Chernozhukov and Galichon. I was most curious to read the paper as Guillaume is primarily a mathematical analyst working on optimisation problems like optimal transport. And also because I find quantile regression difficult to fathom as a statistical problem. (As it happens, both his co-authors are from econometrics.) The results in the paper are (i) to show that a d-dimensional (Lebesgue) absolutely continuous random variable Y can always be represented as the deterministic transform Y=Q(U), where U is a d-dimensional [0,1] uniform (the paper expresses this transform as conditional on a set of regressors Z, but those essentially play no role) and Q is monotonous in the sense of being the gradient of a convex function,

and

(ii) to deduce from this representation a unique notion of multivariate quantile function; and (iii) to consider the special case when the quantile function Q can be written as the linear

where β(U) is a matrix. Hence leading to an estimation problem.

**W**hile unsurprising from a measure theoretic viewpoint, the representation theorem (i) is most interesting both for statistical and simulation reasons. Provided the function Q can be easily estimated and derived, respectively. The paper however does not provide a constructive tool for this derivation, besides indicating several characterisations as solutions of optimisation problems. From a statistical perspective, a non-parametric estimation of β(.) would have useful implications in multivariate regression, although the paper only considers the specific linear case above. Which solution is obtained by a discretisation of all variables and linear programming.

## R/Rmetrics in Paris [alas!]

Posted in Mountains, pictures, R, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags ABC, andouille de Vire, Bayesian econometrics, Bayesian model choice, Bernese Alps, cmpfun(), Collège des Bernardins, compiler, Eiger, importance sampling, Interlaken, Meielisalp, Mittelegi ridge, Paris, R, Rmetrics, San Antonio, Switzerland, system.time, Thun Lake on June 30, 2014 by xi'an**T**oday I gave a talk on Bayesian model choice in a fabulous 13th Century former monastery in the Latin Quarter of Paris… It is the Collège des Bernardins, close to Jussieu and Collège de France, unbelievably hidden to the point I was not aware of its existence despite having studied and worked in Jussieu since 1982… I mixed my earlier San Antonio survey on importance sampling approximations to Bayes factors with an entry to our most recent work on ABC with random forests. This was the first talk of the 8th R/Rmetrics workshop taking place in Paris this year. (Rmetrics is aiming at aggregating R packages with econometrics and finance applications.) And I had a full hour and a half to deliver my lecture to the workshop audience. Nice place, nice people, new faces and topics (and even andouille de Vire for lunch!): why should I complain with an alas in the title?!**W**hat happened is that the R/Rmetrics meetings have been till this year organised in Meielisalp, Switzerland. Which stands on top of Thuner See and… just next to the most famous peaks of the Bernese Alps! And that I had been invited last year but could not make it… Meaning I lost a genuine opportunity to climb one of my five dream routes, the Mittelegi ridge of the Eiger. As the future R/Rmetrics meetings will not take place there.

**A** lunch discussion at the workshop led me to experiment the compiler library in R, library that I was unaware of. The impact on the running time is obvious: recycling the fowler function from the last Le Monde puzzle,

> bowler=cmpfun(fowler) > N=20;n=10;system.time(fowler(pred=N)) user system elapsed 52.647 0.076 56.332 > N=20;n=10;system.time(bowler(pred=N)) user system elapsed 51.631 0.004 51.768 > N=20;n=15;system.time(bowler(pred=N)) user system elapsed 51.924 0.024 52.429 > N=20;n=15;system.time(fowler(pred=N)) user system elapsed 52.919 0.200 61.960

shows a ten- to twenty-fold gain in system time, if not in elapsed time (re-alas!).

## …et sinon Mr Cardoso réussit là où les ont échoué!

Posted in Kids, pictures with tags advertising, charlatanism, mailbox, Pantin, Paris on June 29, 2014 by xi'an**A** similar flier, a few days later. With very precise (if incoherent) guarantees! And a fantastic use of capitals. Too bad Monsieur Cardoso could not predict the (occurrence of a) missing noun in the last sentence…

## “those” coincidences

Posted in pictures, Travel, University life with tags Bayes 250, Châtelet, coincidences, Edinburgh, Gare du Nord, ICMS, India, Indian food, Marc Suchard, Paris, RER, RER B, Scotland, The Balmoral, visa on June 21, 2014 by xi'an**L**ast Thursday night, after a friendly dinner closing the ICMS workshop, I was rushing back to Pollock Halls to catch some sleep before a very early flight. When crossing North Bridge, on top of Waverley station, I then spotted in the crowd a well-known face of a fellow statistician from Cambridge University, on an academic visit to the University of Edinburgh that was completely unrelated with the workshop. Then, today, on my way back from submitting a visa request at the Indian embassy in Paris, I took the RER train for one stop between Gare du Nord and Chatelet. When I stood up from my seat and looked behind me, a senior (and most famous) mathematician was sitting right there, in deep conversation with a colleague about algorithms… Just two of “those” coincidences. (Edinburgh may be propitious to coincidences: at the last ICMS workshop I attended, I ended up in the same Indian restaurant as Marc Suchard, who also was on an academic visit to the University of Edinburgh that was completely unrelated with the workshop!)