Archive for All about that Bayes

optimal scaling for proximal MALA [All about that Bayes seminar, 21/03, Palaiseau]

Posted in Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , on March 19, 2023 by xi'an

An All about that Bayes seminar next Tuesday, at 2pm, at AgroParisTech, Francesca Crucinio (formerly Warwick and now ENSAE):

We consider a recently proposed class of MCMC methods which uses proximity maps instead of gradients to build proposal mechanisms which can be employed for both differentiable and non-differentiable targets. These methods have been shown to be stable for a wide class of targets, making them a valuable alternative to Metropolis-adjusted Langevin algorithms (MALA); and have found wide application in imaging contexts. The wider stability properties are obtained by building the Moreau-Yoshida envelope for the target of interest, which depends on a parameter λ. In this work, we investigate the optimal scaling problem for this class of algorithms, which encompasses MALA, and provide practical guidelines for the implementation of these methods.
Joint work with Alain Durmus, Pablo Jiménez, Gareth O. Roberts.

All about that [Detective] Bayes [seminar]

Posted in Books, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 5, 2023 by xi'an
On 10 January 2023, at 14:00, Campus Pierre et Marie Curie (Sorbonne Université), Room 15.16-309, an All about that Bayes seminar presentation by Daniele Durante, visiting Paris Dauphine this month:

Daniele Durante (Bocconi University) – Detective Bayes: Bayesian nonparametric stochastic block modeling of criminal networks

Europol recently defined criminal networks as a modern version of the Hydra mythological creature, with covert structure and multifaceted evolutions. Indeed, relationships data among criminals are subject to measurement errors, structured missingness patterns, and exhibit a complex combination of an unknown number of core-periphery, assortative and disassortative structures that may encode key architectures of the criminal organization. The coexistence of these noisy block patterns limits the reliability of community detection algorithms routinely-used in criminology, thereby leading to overly-simplified and possibly biased reconstructions of organized crime topologies. In this seminar, I will present a number of model-based solutions which aim at covering these gaps via a combination of stochastic block models and priors for random partitions arising from Bayesian nonparametrics. These include Gibbs-type priors, and random partition priors driven by the urn scheme of a hierarchical normalized completely random measure. Product-partition models to incorporate criminals’ attributes, and zero-inflated Poisson representations accounting for weighted edges and secrecy strategies, will be also discussed. Collapsed Gibbs samplers for posterior computation are presented, and refined strategies for estimation, prediction, uncertainty quantification and model selection will be outlined. Results are illustrated in an application to an Italian Mafia network, where the proposed models unveil a structure of the criminal organization mostly hidden to state-of-the-art alternatives routinely used in criminology. I will conclude the seminar with ideas on how to learn the evolutionary history of the criminal organization from the relationship data among its criminals via a novel combination of latent space models for network data and phylogenetic trees.

Andrew & All about that Bayes!

Posted in Books, Kids, pictures, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 6, 2022 by xi'an

Andrew Gelman is giving a talk on 11 October at 2 p.m. in Campus Pierre et Marie Curie (Sorbonne Université), room 16-26-209. He will talk about

Prior distribution for causal inference

In Bayesian inference, we must specify a model for the data (a likelihood) and a model for parameters (a prior). Consider two questions:

  1. Why is it more complicated to specify the likelihood than the prior?
  2. In order to specify the prior, how could can we switch between the theoretical literature (invariance, normality assumption, …) and the applied literature (experts elicitation, robustness, …)?

I will discuss those question in the domain of causal inference: prior distributions for causal effects, coefficients of regression and the other parameters in causal models.

Julyan’s talk on priors in Bayesian neural networks [cancelled!]

Posted in pictures, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 5, 2020 by xi'an

Next Friday, 13 March at 1:30p.m., Julyan Arbel, researcher at Inria Grenoble will give a All about that Bayes talk at CMLA, ENS Paris-Saclay (building D’Alembert, room Condorcet, Cachan, RER stop Bagneux) on

Understanding Priors in Bayesian Neural Networks at the Unit Level

We investigate deep Bayesian neural networks with Gaussian weight priors and a class of ReLU-like nonlinearities. Bayesian neural networks with Gaussian priors are well known to induce an L², “weight decay”, regularization. Our results characterize a more intricate regularization effect at the level of the unit activations. Our main result establishes that the induced prior distribution on the units before and after activation becomes increasingly heavy-tailed with the depth of the layer. We show that first layer units are Gaussian, second layer units are sub-exponential, and units in deeper layers are characterized by sub-Weibull distributions. Our results provide new theoretical insight on deep Bayesian neural networks, which we corroborate with simulation experiments.


unbiased MCMC with couplings [4pm, 26 Feb., Paris]

Posted in Books, pictures, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 24, 2020 by xi'an

On Wednesday, 26 February, Pierre Jacob (Havard U, currently visiting Paris-Dauphine) is giving a seminar on unbiased MCMC methods with couplings at AgroParisTech, bvd Claude Bernard, Paris 5ième, Room 32, at 4pm in the All about that Bayes seminar.

MCMC methods yield estimators that converge to integrals of interest in the limit of the number of iterations. This iterative asymptotic justification is not ideal; first, it stands at odds with current trends in computing hardware, with increasingly parallel architectures; secondly, the choice of “burn-in” or “warm-up” is arduous. This talk will describe recently proposed estimators that are unbiased for the expectations of interest while having a finite computing cost and a finite variance. They can thus be generated independently in parallel and averaged over. The method also provides practical upper bounds on the distance (e.g. total variation) between the marginal distribution of the chain at a finite step and its invariant distribution. The key idea is to generate “faithful” couplings of Markov chains, whereby pairs of chains coalesce after a random number of iterations. This talk will provide an overview of this line of research.

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