Blog Archives

Catching up faster by switching sooner

October 25, 2011
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Catching up faster by switching sooner

Here is our discussion (with Nicolas Chopin) of the Read Paper of last Wednesday by T. van Erven, P. Grünwald and S. de Rooij (Centrum voor Wiskunde en Informatica, Amsterdam), entitled Catching up faster by switching sooner: a predictive approach to adaptive estimation with an application to the Akaike information criterion–Bayesian information criterion dilemma. It

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Approximate Bayesian computational methods on-line

October 25, 2011
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Approximate Bayesian computational methods on-line

Fig. 4 – Boxplots of the evolution of ABC approximations to the Bayes factor. The representation is made in terms of frequencies of visits to models MA(1) and MA(2) during an ABC simulation when ε corresponds to the 10,1,.1,.01% quantiles on the simulated autocovariance distances. The data is a time

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understanding computational Bayesian statistics: a reply from Bill Bolstad

October 23, 2011
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understanding computational Bayesian statistics: a reply from Bill Bolstad

Bill Bolstad wrote a reply to my review of his book Understanding computational Bayesian statistics last week and here it is, unedited except for the first paragraph where he thanks me for the opportunity to respond, “so readers will see that the book has some good features beyond having a “nice cover”.” (!) I simply processed

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le Monde puzzle [#745]

October 20, 2011
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le Monde puzzle [#745]

The puzzle in Le Monde this weekend is not that clear (for a change!), so I may be confused in the following exposition: Three card players are betting with a certain (and different) number of chips each, between 4 and 9. After each game, the looser doubles the number of chips of the winner (while

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postdoctoral positions in Paris

October 20, 2011
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postdoctoral positions in Paris

There is a call for postdoctoral positions supported by the Paris Mathematical Sciences Foundation. The deadline is December 13 and the on-line application is available. If you are interested in working with me on Bayesian statistics  (model choice, time series model) or computational methods (SMC, MCMC, ABC, &c.) thru this call, please contact me at

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the Wang-Landau algorithm reaches the flat histogram in finite time

October 19, 2011
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the Wang-Landau algorithm reaches the flat histogram in finite time

Pierre Jacob and Robin Ryder (from Paris-Dauphine, CREST, and Statisfaction) have just arXived (and submitted to the Annals of Applied Probability) a neat result on the Wang-Landau algorithm. (This algorithm, which modifies the target in a sort of reweighted partioned sampling to achieve faster convergence, has always been perplexing to me.)  They show that some

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National Gallery of Ireland

October 15, 2011
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National Gallery of Ireland

During a short if profitable visit to Dublin for a SFI meeting on Tuesday/Friday, I had the opportunity to visit the National Gallery of Ireland in my sole hour of free time (as my classy hotel was very close). The building itself is quite nice, being well-inserted between brick houses from the outside, while providing

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principles of uncertainty

October 13, 2011
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principles of uncertainty

“Bayes Theorem is a simple consequence of the axioms of probability, and is therefore accepted by all as valid. However, some who challenge the use of personal probability reject certain applications of Bayes Theorem.“  J. Kadane, p.44 Principles of uncertainty by Joseph (“Jay”) Kadane (Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh) is a profound and mesmerising book on

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Typos in Introduction to Monte Carlo Methods with R

October 12, 2011
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Typos in Introduction to Monte Carlo Methods with R

The two translators of our book in Japanese, Kazue & Motohiro Ishida, contacted me about some R code mistakes in the book. The translation is nearly done and they checked every piece of code in the book, an endeavour for which I am very grateful! Here are the two issues they have noticed (after incorporating

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Le Monde puzzle [#743]

October 11, 2011
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Le Monde puzzle [#743]

As Le Monde weekend has yet again changed its format (with so much more advertisements for luxurious items that I sometimes wonder whether or not this is the weekend edition of Le Monde!], it took me a while to locate the mathematical puzzle. The good news is there now is a science&techno leaflet with, at

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