Archive for bibliography

ABC with privacy

Posted in Books, Statistics with tags , , , , , , , , on April 18, 2023 by xi'an

I very recently read a  2021 paper by Mijung Park, Margarita Vinaroz, and Wittawat Jitkrittum on running ABC while ensuring data privacy (published in Entropy).

“…adding noise to the distance computed on the real observations and pseudo-data suffices the privacy guarantee of the resulting  posterior samples”

For ABC tolerance, they use maximum mean discrepancy (MMD) and for privacy the standard if unconvincing notion of differential privacy, defined by ensuring an upper bound on the amount of variation in the probability ratio when replacing/removing/adding an observation. (But not clearly convincing users their data is secure.)

While I have no reservation about the validation of the double-noise approach, I find it surprising that noise must be (twice) added when vanilla ABC is already (i) noisy, since based on random pseudo-data, and (ii) producing only a sample from an approximate posterior instead of returning an exact posterior. My impression indeed was that ABC should be good enough by itself to achieve privacy protection. In the sense that the accepted parameter values were those that generated random samples sufficiently close to the actual data, hence not only compatible with the true data, but also producing artificial datasets that are close enough to the data. Presumably these artificial datasets should not be produced as the intersection of their ε neighbourhoods may prove enough to identify the actual data. (The proposed algorithm does return all generated datasets.) Instead the supported algorithm involves randomisation of both tolerance ε and distance ρ to the observed data (with the side issue that they may become negative since the noise is Laplace).

LaTeX issues from Vienna

Posted in Books, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 21, 2017 by xi'an

When working on the final stage of our edited handbook on mixtures, in Vienna, I came across unexpected practical difficulties! One was that by working on Dropbox with Windows users, files and directories names suddenly switched from upper case to lower cases letters !, making hard-wired paths to figures and subsections void in the numerous LaTeX files used for the book. And forcing us to change to lower cases everywhere. Having not worked under Windows since George Casella gave me my first laptop in the mid 90’s!, I am amazed that this inability to handle both upper and lower names is still an issue. And that Dropbox replicates it. (And that some people see that as a plus.)

The other LaTeX issue that took a while to solve was that we opted for one chapter one bibliography, rather than having a single bibliography at the end of the book, mainly because CRC Press asked for this feature in order to sell chapters individually… This was my first encounter with this issue and I found the solutions to produce individual bibliographies incredibly heavy handed, whether through chapterbib or bibunits, since one has to bibtex one .aux file for each chapter. Even with a one line bash command,

for f in bu*aux; do bibtex `basename $f .aux`; done

this is annoying in the extreme!

Merging bibtex files

Posted in Books, Linux, Statistics with tags , , , on October 6, 2009 by xi'an

Even though I strive to work with a single bibtex file for all my papers and books, using a symbolic link to the mother biblio.bib file in each paper directory, it happens now and then that local biblio.bib files get a life of their own! So this morning I cleaned up my computer by replacing all mutant biblio.bib files by the mother file, but I had first to make sure all local references had been included in this single file. There are certainly many ways to do so but I found using kbibtex, a bibtex editor for KDE, fairly painless and efficient.

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