## latest math stats exam

Posted in Books, Kids, R, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 28, 2023 by xi'an

As I finished grading our undergrad math stats exam (in Paris Dauphine) over the weekend, which was very straightforward this year, the more because most questions had already been asked on weekly quizzes or during practicals, some answers stroke me as atypical (but ChatGPT is not to blame!). For instance, in question 1, (c) received a fair share of wrong eliminations as g not being necessarily bounded. Rather than being contradicted by (b) being false. (ChatGPT managed to solve that question, except for the L² convergence!)

Question 2 was much less successful than we expected, most failures due to a catastrophic change of parameterisation for computing the mgf that could have been ignored given this is a Bernoulli model, right?! Although the students wasted quite a while computing the Fisher information for the Binomial distribution in Question 3… (ChatGPT managed to solve that question!)

Question 4 was intentionally confusing and while most (of those who dealt with the R questions) spotted the opposition between sample and distribution, hence picking (f), a few fell into the trap (d).

Question 7 was also surprisingly incompletely covered by a significant fraction of the students, as they missed the sufficiency in (c). (ChatGPT did not manage to solve that question, starting with the inverted statement that “a minimal sufficient statistic is a sufficient statistic that is not a function of any other sufficient statistic”…)

And Question 8 was rarely complete, even though many recalled Basu’s theorem for (a) [more rarely (d)] and flunked (c). A large chunk of them argued that the ancilarity of statistics in (a) and (d) made them [distributionally] independent of μ, therefore [probabilistically] of the empirical mean! (Again flunked by ChatGPT, confusing completeness and sufficiency.)

## re-revisiting Jeffreys

Posted in Books, pictures, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , on October 16, 2015 by xi'an

Analytic Posteriors for Pearson’s Correlation Coefficient was arXived yesterday by Alexander Ly , Maarten Marsman, and Eric-Jan Wagenmakers from Amsterdam, with whom I recently had two most enjoyable encounters (and dinners!). And whose paper on Jeffreys’ Theory of Probability I recently discussed in the Journal of Mathematical Psychology.

The paper re-analyses Bayesian inference on the Gaussian correlation coefficient, demonstrating that for standard reference priors the posterior moments are (surprisingly) available in closed form. Including priors suggested by Jeffreys (in a 1935 paper), Lindley, Bayarri (Susie’s first paper!), Berger, Bernardo, and Sun. They all are of the form

$\pi(\theta)\propto(1+\rho^2)^\alpha(1-\rho^2)^\beta\sigma_1^\gamma\sigma_2^\delta$

and the corresponding profile likelihood on ρ is in “closed” form (“closed” because it involves hypergeometric functions). And only depends on the sample correlation which is then marginally sufficient (although I do not like this notion!). The posterior moments associated with those priors can be expressed as series (of hypergeometric functions). While the paper is very technical, borrowing from the Bateman project and from Gradshteyn and Ryzhik, I like it if only because it reminds me of some early papers I wrote in the same vein, Abramowitz and Stegun being one of the very first books I bought (at a ridiculous price in the bookstore of Purdue University…).

Two comments about the paper: I see nowhere a condition for the posterior to be proper, although I assume it could be the n>1+γ−2α+δ constraint found in Corollary 2.1 (although I am surprised there is no condition on the coefficient β). The second thing is about the use of this analytic expression in simulations from the marginal posterior on ρ: Since the density is available, numerical integration is certainly more efficient than Monte Carlo integration [for quantities that are not already available in closed form]. Furthermore, in the general case when β is not zero, the cost of computing infinite series of hypergeometric and gamma functions maybe counterbalanced by a direct simulation of ρ and both variance parameters since the profile likelihood of this triplet is truly in closed form, see eqn (2.11). And I will not comment the fact that Fisher ends up being the most quoted author in the paper!

## intuition beyond a Beta property

Posted in Books, Kids, R, Statistics, University life with tags , , , on March 30, 2015 by xi'an

A self-study question on X validated exposed an interesting property of the Beta distribution:

If x is B(n,m) and y is B(n+½,m) then √xy is B(2n,2m)

While this can presumably be established by a mere change of variables, I could not carry the derivation till the end and used instead the moment generating function E[(XY)s/2] since it naturally leads to ratios of B(a,b) functions and to nice cancellations thanks to the ½ in some Gamma functions [and this was the solution proposed on X validated]. However, I wonder at a more fundamental derivation of the property that would stem from a statistical reasoning… Trying with the ratio of Gamma random variables did not work. And the connection with order statistics does not apply because of the ½. Any idea?