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Bayesian hybrid algorithms and models : implementation and associated issues

Lee, Jeong Eun (2010) Bayesian hybrid algorithms and models : implementation and associated issues. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

Abstract

This thesis addresses computational challenges arising from Bayesian analysis of complex real-world problems. Many of the models and algorithms designed for such analysis are ‘hybrid’ in nature, in that they are a composition of components for which their individual properties may be easily described but the performance of the model or algorithm as a whole is less well understood. The aim of this research project is to after a better understanding of the performance of hybrid models and algorithms. The goal of this thesis is to analyse the computational aspects of hybrid models and hybrid algorithms in the Bayesian context. The first objective of the research focuses on computational aspects of hybrid models, notably a continuous finite mixture of t-distributions. In the mixture model, an inference of interest is the number of components, as this may relate to both the quality of model fit to data and the computational workload. The analysis of t-mixtures using Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) is described and the model is compared to the Normal case based on the goodness of fit. Through simulation studies, it is demonstrated that the t-mixture model can be more flexible and more parsimonious in terms of number of components, particularly for skewed and heavytailed data. The study also reveals important computational issues associated with the use of t-mixtures, which have not been adequately considered in the literature. The second objective of the research focuses on computational aspects of hybrid algorithms for Bayesian analysis. Two approaches will be considered: a formal comparison of the performance of a range of hybrid algorithms and a theoretical investigation of the performance of one of these algorithms in high dimensions. For the first approach, the delayed rejection algorithm, the pinball sampler, the Metropolis adjusted Langevin algorithm, and the hybrid version of the population Monte Carlo (PMC) algorithm are selected as a set of examples of hybrid algorithms. Statistical literature shows how statistical efficiency is often the only criteria for an efficient algorithm. In this thesis the algorithms are also considered and compared from a more practical perspective. This extends to the study of how individual algorithms contribute to the overall efficiency of hybrid algorithms, and highlights weaknesses that may be introduced by the combination process of these components in a single algorithm. The second approach to considering computational aspects of hybrid algorithms involves an investigation of the performance of the PMC in high dimensions. It is well known that as a model becomes more complex, computation may become increasingly difficult in real time. In particular the importance sampling based algorithms, including the PMC, are known to be unstable in high dimensions. This thesis examines the PMC algorithm in a simplified setting, a single step of the general sampling, and explores a fundamental problem that occurs in applying importance sampling to a high-dimensional problem. The precision of the computed estimate from the simplified setting is measured by the asymptotic variance of the estimate under conditions on the importance function. Additionally, the exponential growth of the asymptotic variance with the dimension is demonstrated and we illustrates that the optimal covariance matrix for the importance function can be estimated in a special case.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 33151
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Mengersen, Kerrie& Alston, Clair
Keywords: Bayesian hybrid algorithms
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Past > Schools > Mathematical Sciences
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 15 Jul 2010 12:59
Last Modified: 29 Oct 2011 05:56

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