Archive for webinar

David Frazier’s talk on One World ABC seminar tomorrow [watch for the time!]

Posted in pictures, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 14, 2020 by xi'an

My friend and coauthor from Melbourne is giving the One World ABC seminar tomorrow. He will be talking at 10:30 UK time, 11:30 Brussels time, and 20:30 Melbourne time! On Robust and Efficient Approximate Bayesian Computation: A Minimum Distance Approach. Be on time!

MCMC, variational inference, invertible flows… bridging the gap?

Posted in Books, Mountains, Running, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 2, 2020 by xi'an

Two weeks ago, my friend [see here when climbing Pic du Midi d’Ossau in 2005!] and coauthor Éric Moulines gave a very interesting on-line talk entitled MCMC, Variational Inference, Invertible Flows… Bridging the gap?, which was merging MCMC, variational autoencoders, and variational inference. I paid close attention as I plan to teach an advanced course on acronyms next semester in Warwick. (By acronyms, I mean ABC+GAN+VAE!)

The notion in this work is that variational autoencoders are based on over-simple mean-field variational distributions, that usually produce a poor approximation of the target distribution. Éric and his coauthors propose to introduce a Metropolis step in the VAE. This leads to a more general notion of Markov transitions and a global balance condition. Hamiltonian Monte Carlo can be used as well and it improves the latent distribution approximation, namely the encoder, which is surprising to me. The steps of the Markov kernel produce a manageable transform of the initial mean field approximation, a random version of the original VAE. Manageable provided not too many MCMC steps are implemented. (Now, the flow of slides was much too fast for me to get a proper understanding of the implementation of the method, of the degree of its calibration, and of the computing cost. I need to read the associated papers.)

Once the talk was over, I went back to changing tires and tubes, as two bikes of mine had flat tires, the latest being a spectacular explosion (!) that seemingly went through the tire (although I believe the opposite happened, namely the tire got slashed and induced the tube to blow out very quickly). Blame the numerous bits of broken glass over bike paths.

one World ABC seminar [term #2]

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 29, 2020 by xi'an

The on-line One World ABC seminar continues on-line this semester! With talks every other Thursday at 11:30 UK time (12:30 central European time). Incoming speakers are

with presenters to be confirmed for 29 October. Anyone interested in presenting at this webinar in a near future should not hesitate in contacting Massimiliano Tamborrino in Warwick or any of the other organisers of the seminar!


Posted in Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , on September 21, 2020 by xi'an

The Canadian Statistical Sciences Institute/Institut canadien des sciences statistiques is launching a series of on-line seminars, held once a month.  With journal clubs to prepare the seminar and with student-only meetings with the speakers after each seminar.

Seminars will be broadcast live on the fourth Thursday of the month from 1-2:15 pm Eastern time (18 GMT+2).  Students will meet virtually with the speaker from 2:30-3:30 pm Eastern time. Talks in the fall will focus on Hidden Markov Models, starting on Thursday, September 24, 2020 with Ruth King of the University of Edinburgh.

Approximate Bayesian analysis of (un)conditional copulas [webinar]

Posted in Books, pictures, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 17, 2020 by xi'an

The Algorithms & Computationally Intensive Inference seminar (access by request) will virtually resume this week in Warwick U on Friday, 18 Sept., at noon (UK time, ie +1GMT) with a talk by (my coauthor and former PhD student) Clara Grazian (now at UNSW), talking about approximate Bayes for copulas:

Many proposals are now available to model complex data, in particular thanks to the recent advances in computational methodologies and algorithms which allow to work with complicated likelihood function in a reasonable amount of time. However, it is, in general, difficult to analyse data characterized by complicated forms of dependence. Copula models have been introduced as probabilistic tools to describe a multivariate random vector via the marginal distributions and a copula function which captures the dependence structure among the vector components, thanks to the Sklar’s theorem, which states that any d-dimensional absolutely continuous density can be uniquely represented as the product of the marginal distributions and the copula function. Major areas of application include econometrics, hydrological engineering, biomedical science, signal processing and finance. Bayesian methods to analyse copula models tend to be computational intensive or to rely on the choice of a particular copula function, in particular because methods of model selection are not yet fully developed in this setting. We will present a general method to estimate some specific quantities of interest of a generic copula by adopting an approximate Bayesian approach based on an approximation of the likelihood function. Our approach is general, in the sense that it could be adapted both to parametric and nonparametric modelling of the marginal distributions and can be generalised in presence of covariates. It also allow to avoid the definition of the copula function. The class of algorithms proposed allows the researcher to model the joint distribution of a random vector in two separate steps: first the marginal distributions and, then, a copula function which captures the dependence structure among the vector components.