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Le Monde puzzle [#1045]

Posted in Books, Kids with tags , , , , , , on May 13, 2018 by xi'an

An minor arithmetic Le Monde mathematical puzzle:

Take a sequence of 16  integers with 4 digits each, separated by 2,  such that it contains a perfect square and its sum is a perfect cube. What are the possible squares and cubes?

The question is dead easy to code in R

for (x in as.integer(1e3:(1e4-16))){
  if (max(round(sqrt(x+2*(0:15)))^2==x+2*(0:15))==1) {
  if ((round((2*x+30)^(1/3)))^3==(2*x+30)) 

and return the following solutions:

[1] 1357   37   28
[1] 5309   73   44

Nothing that exciting…!

a [Gregorian] calendar riddle

Posted in R with tags , , , , , on April 17, 2018 by xi'an

A simple riddle express this week on The Riddler, about finding the years between 2001 and 2099 with the most cases when day x month = year [all entries with two digits]. For instance, this works for 1 January, 2001 since 01=01 x 01. The only difficulty in writing an R code for this question is to figure out the number of days in a given month of a given year (in order to include leap years).

The solution was however quickly found on Stack Overflow and the resulting code is

#safer beta quantile
numOD <- function(date) {
    m <- format(date, format="%m")
    while (format(date, format="%m") == m) date <- date + 1
    return(as.integer(format(date - 1, format="%d")))
for (i in 2001:2099)
for (j in 2:11)

for (i in 1:99){
for (j in 1:12)
  if ((i==(i%/%j)*j)&((i%/%j)<=dayz[j,i])) 

The best year in this respect being 2024, with 7 occurrences of the year being the product of a month and a day…

Le Monde puzzle [#1045]

Posted in Books, Kids with tags , , , on March 19, 2018 by xi'an

An arithmetic Le Monde mathematical puzzle of limited proportions (also found on Stack Exchange):

  1. If x,y,z are distinct positive integers such that x+y+z=19 and xyz=p, what is the value of p that has several ordered antecedents?
  2.  If the sum is now x+y+z=22, is there a value of p=xyz for which there are several ordered antecedents?
  3. If the sum is now larger than 100, is there a value of p with this property?

The first question is dead easy to code

for (y in 1:5) #y<z<x
for (z in (y+1):trunc((18-y)/2))
 if (19-y-z>z) entz=c(entz,y*z*(19-y-z))

and return p=144 as the only solution (with ordered antecedents 2 8 9 and 3 4 12). The second question shows no such case. And the last one requires more than brute force exploration! Or the direct argument that a multiple by κ of a non-unique triplet produces a sum multiplied by κ and a product multiplied by κ³. Hence leads to another non-unique triplet with an arbitrary large sum.

golden Bayesian!

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 11, 2017 by xi'an

ghost [parameters] in the [Bayesian] shell

Posted in Books, Kids, Statistics with tags , , , , , , , on August 3, 2017 by xi'an

This question appeared on Stack Exchange (X Validated) two days ago. And the equalities indeed seem to suffer from several mathematical inconsistencies, as I pointed out in my Answer. However, what I find most crucial in this question is that the quantity on the left hand side is meaningless. Parameters for different models only make sense within their own model. Hence when comparing models parameters cannot co-exist across models. What I suspect [without direct access to Kruschke’s Doing Bayesian Data Analysis book and as was later confirmed by John] is that he is using pseudo-priors in order to apply Carlin and Chib (1995) resolution [by saturation of the parameter space] of simulating over a trans-dimensional space…

simulation under zero measure constraints

Posted in Books, Kids, R, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , , on November 17, 2016 by xi'an

A theme that comes up fairly regularly on X validated is the production of a sample with given moments, either for calibration motives or from a misunderstanding of the difference between a distribution mean and a sample average. Here are some entries on that topic:

In most of those questions, the constraint in on the sum or mean of the sample, which allows for an easy resolution by a change of variables. It however gets somewhat harder when the constraint involves more moments or, worse, an implicit solution to an equation. A good example of the later is the quest for a sample with a given maximum likelihood estimate in the case this MLE cannot be derived analytically. As for instance with a location-scale t sample…

Actually, even when the constraint is solely on the sum, a relevant question is the production of an efficient simulation mechanism. Using a Gibbs sampler that changes one component of the sample at each iteration does not qualify, even though it eventually produces the proper sample. Except for small samples. As in this example

s0=.5 #fixed average
for (t in 2:T){
 for (i in 1:(n-1)){

For very large samples, I figure that proposing from the unconstrained density can achieve a sufficient efficiency, but the in-between setting remains an interesting problem.

SAS on Bayes

Posted in Books, Kids, pictures, R, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , , on November 8, 2016 by xi'an

Following a question on X Validated, I became aware of the following descriptions of the pros and cons of Bayesian analysis, as perceived by whoever (Tim Arnold?) wrote SAS/STAT(R) 9.2 User’s Guide, Second Edition. I replied more specifically on the point

It [Bayesian inference] provides inferences that are conditional on the data and are exact, without reliance on asymptotic approximation. Small sample inference proceeds in the same manner as if one had a large sample. Bayesian analysis also can estimate any functions of parameters directly, without using the “plug-in” method (a way to estimate functionals by plugging the estimated parameters in the functionals).

which I find utterly confusing and not particularly relevant. The other points in the list are more traditional, except for this one

It provides interpretable answers, such as “the true parameter θ has a probability of 0.95 of falling in a 95% credible interval.”

that I find somewhat unappealing in that the 95% probability has only relevance wrt to the resulting posterior, hence has no absolute (and definitely no frequentist) meaning. The criticisms of the prior selection

It does not tell you how to select a prior. There is no correct way to choose a prior. Bayesian inferences require skills to translate subjective prior beliefs into a mathematically formulated prior. If you do not proceed with caution, you can generate misleading results.

It can produce posterior distributions that are heavily influenced by the priors. From a practical point of view, it might sometimes be difficult to convince subject matter experts who do not agree with the validity of the chosen prior.

are traditional but nonetheless irksome. Once acknowledged there is no correct or true prior, it follows naturally that the resulting inference will depend on the choice of the prior and has to be understood conditional on the prior, which is why the credible interval has for instance an epistemic rather than frequentist interpretation. There is also little reason for trying to convince a fellow Bayesian statistician about one’s prior. Everything is conditional on the chosen prior and I see less and less why this should be an issue.