**F**ollowing the highly successful* [authorised opinion!, from objective sources]* MCMski IV, in Chamonix last year, the BayesComp section of ISBA has decided in favour of a two-year period, which means the great item of news that next year we will meet again for MCMski V [or MCMskv for short], this time on the snowy slopes of the Swiss town of Lenzerheide, south of Zürich. The committees are headed by the indefatigable Antonietta Mira and Mark Girolami. The plenary speakers have already been contacted and Steve Scott (Google), Steve Fienberg (CMU), David Dunson (Duke), Krys Latuszynski (Warwick), and Tony Lelièvre (Mines, Paris), have agreed to talk. Similarly, the nine invited sessions have been selected and will include Hamiltonian Monte Carlo, Algorithms for Intractable Problems (ABC included!), Theory of (Ultra)High-Dimensional Bayesian Computation, Bayesian NonParametrics, Bayesian Econometrics, Quasi Monte Carlo, Statistics of Deep Learning, Uncertainty Quantification in Mathematical Models, and Biostatistics. There will be afternoon tutorials, including a practical session from the Stan team, tutorials for which call is open, poster sessions, a conference dinner at which we will be entertained by the unstoppable Imposteriors. The Richard Tweedie ski race is back as well, with a pair of Blossom skis for the winner!

## Archive for the pictures Category

## MCMskv, Lenzerheide, Jan. 5-7, 2016

Posted in Kids, Mountains, pictures, R, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags ABC, BayesComp, Bayesian computation, Blossom skis, Chamonix, Glenlivet, Hamiltonian Monte Carlo, intractable likelihood, ISBA, MCMSki, MCMskv, Monte Carlo Statistical Methods, Richard Tweedie, ski town, STAN, Switzerland, Zurich on March 31, 2015 by xi'an## also sprach Nietzsche

Posted in Books, Kids, pictures with tags Andrew Gelman, atheism, Friedrich Nietzsche, graphical novel, Maximilien Le Roy, Michel Onfray, Philosophenweg on March 30, 2015 by xi'an## likelihood-free model choice

Posted in Books, pictures, Statistics, University life, Wines with tags ABC, ABC model choice, Handbook of Approximate Bayesian computation, likelihood-free methods, Montpellier, PNAS, random forests, survey on March 27, 2015 by xi'an**J**ean-Michel Marin, Pierre Pudlo and I just arXived a short review on ABC model choice, first version of a chapter for the incoming *Handbook of Approximate Bayesian computation* edited by Scott Sisson, Yannan Fan, and Mark Beaumont. Except for a new analysis of a Human evolution scenario, this survey mostly argues for the proposal made in our recent paper on the use of random forests and [also argues] about the lack of reliable approximations to posterior probabilities. (Paper that was rejected by PNAS and that is about to be resubmitted. Hopefully with a more positive outcome.) The conclusion of the survey is that

The presumably most pessimistic conclusion of this study is that the connections between (i) the true posterior probability of a model, (ii) the ABC version of this probability, and (iii) the random forest version of the above, are at best very loose. This leaves open queries for acceptable approximations of (i), since the posterior predictive error is instead an error assessment for the ABC RF model choice procedure. While a Bayesian quantity that can be computed at little extra cost, it does not necessarily compete with the posterior probability of a model.

reflecting my hope that we can eventually come up with a proper approximation to the “true” posterior probability…

## ABC for copula estimation

Posted in Books, Kids, pictures, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags ABC, copula, empirical likelihood, GARCH model, Italia, La Sapienza, Roma, Spearman's ρ on March 23, 2015 by xi'anClara Grazian and Brunero Liseo (di Roma) have just arXived a note on a method merging copulas, ABC, and empirical likelihood. The approach is rather hybrid and thus not completely Bayesian, but this must be seen as a consequence of an ill-posed problem. Indeed, as in many econometric models, the model there is not fully defined: the marginals of iid observations are represented as being from well-known parametric families (and are thus well-estimated by Bayesian tools), while the joint distribution remains uncertain and hence so does the associated copula. The approach in the paper is to proceed stepwise, i.e., to estimate correctly each marginal, well correctly enough to transform the data by an estimated cdf, and then only to estimate the copula or some aspect of it based on this transformed data. Like Spearman’s ρ. For which an empirical likelihood is computed and aggregated to a prior to make a BCel weight. (If this sounds unclear, each BEel evaluation is based on a random draw from the posterior samples, which transfers some uncertainty in the parameter evaluation into the copula domain. Thanks to Brunero and Clara for clarifying this point for me!)

At this stage of the note, there are two illustrations revolving around Spearman’s ρ. One on simulated data, with better performances than a nonparametric frequentist solution. And another one on a Garch (1,1) model for two financial time-series.

I am quite glad to see an application of our BCel approach in another domain although I feel a tiny bit uncertain about the degree of arbitrariness in the approach, from the estimated cdf transforms of the marginals to the choice of the moment equations identifying the parameter of interest like Spearman’s ρ. Especially if one uses a parametric copula which moments are equally well-known. While I see the practical gain in analysing each component separately, the object created by the estimated cdf transforms may have a very different correlation structure from the true cdf transforms. Maybe there exist consistency conditions on the estimated cdfs… Maybe other notions of orthogonality or independence could be brought into the picture to validate further the two-step solution…

## a mad afternoon!

Posted in pictures, Running, Travel with tags England, France, Ireland, Italy, Murrayfield, rugby, Six Nations 2015, Six Nations tournament, Twickenham, Wales on March 21, 2015 by xi'an**A**n insanely exciting final day and end to the 2015 Six Nations tournament! on the first game of the afternoon, Wales beat Italy in Rome by a sound 20-61!, turning them into likely champions. But then, right after, Ireland won against Scotland 10-40! In mythical Murrayfield. A feat that made them winners unless England won over France in Twickenham by at least 26 points. Which did not happen, in a completely demented rugby game, a game of antology where England dominated but France was much more inspired (if as messy as usual) than in the past games and fought fair and well, managing to loose 35-55 and hence block English victory of the Six Nations. Which can be considered as a victory of sorts…! Absolutely brilliant ending.