## 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.)

## more and more control variates

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , , on October 5, 2018 by xi'an

A few months ago, François Portier and Johan Segers arXived a paper on a question that has always puzzled me, namely how to add control variates to a Monte Carlo estimator and when to stop if needed! The paper is called Monte Carlo integration with a growing number of control variates. It is related to the earlier Oates, Girolami and Chopin (2017) which I remember discussing with Chris when he was in Warwick. The puzzling issue of control variates is [for me] that, while the optimal weight always decreases the variance of the resulting estimate, in practical terms, implementing the method may increase the actual variance. Glynn and Szechtman at MCqMC 2000 identify six different ways of creating the estimate, depending on how the covariance matrix, denoted P(hh’), is estimated. With only one version integrating constant functions and control variates exactly. Which actually happens to be also a solution to a empirical likelihood maximisation under the empirical constraints imposed by the control variates. Another interesting feature is that, when the number m of control variates grows with the number n of simulations the asymptotic variance goes to zero, meaning that the control variate estimator converges at a faster speed.

Creating an infinite sequence of control variates sounds unachievable in a realistic situation. Legendre polynomials are used in the paper, but is there a generic and cheap way to getting these. And … control variate selection, anyone?!