a remarkably simple and accurate method for computing the Bayes factor &tc.

This recent arXiv posting by Martin Weinberg and co-authors was pointed out to me by friends because of its title! It indeed sounded a bit inflated. And also reminded me of old style papers where the title was somehow the abstract. Like An Essay towards Solving a Problem in the Doctrine of Chances… So I had a look at it on my way to Gainesville. The paper starts from the earlier paper by Weinberg (2012) in Bayesian Analysis where he uses an HPD region to determine the Bayes factor by a safe harmonic mean estimator (an idea we already advocated earlier with Jean-Michel Marin in the San Antonio volume and with Darren Wraith in the MaxEnt volume). An extra idea is to try to optimise [against the variance of the resulting evidence] the region over which the integration is performed: “choose a domain that results in the most accurate integral with the smallest number of samples” (p.3). The authors proceed by volume peeling, using some quadrature formula for the posterior coverage of the region, either by Riemann or Lebesgue approximations (p.5). I was fairly lost at this stage and the third proposal based on adaptively managing hyperrectangles (p.7) went completely over my head! The sentence “the results are clearly worse with O() errors, but are still remarkably better for high dimensionality”(p.11) did not make sense either… The method may thus be remarkably simple, but the paper is not written in a way that conveys this impression!

2 Responses to “a remarkably simple and accurate method for computing the Bayes factor &tc.”

  1. X

    I’m reminded of the paper, Empirical estimates suggest most published medical research is true which had some interesting ideas but did not, I think, justify the title.

    A dramatic title can get attention, though!

    • “I know too well the title of this book is specious, but the truth is that there are a thousand ways to sell a book, as there are to skin a cat.”
      – Groucho Marx
      Memoirs of a mangy lover

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