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Concept# Bayesian inference

Summary

Bayesian inference (ˈbeɪziən or ˈbeɪʒən ) is a method of statistical inference in which Bayes' theorem is used to update the probability for a hypothesis as more evidence or information becomes available. Bayesian inference is an important technique in statistics, and especially in mathematical statistics. Bayesian updating is particularly important in the dynamic analysis of a sequence of data. Bayesian inference has found application in a wide range of activities, including science, engineering, philosophy, medicine, sport, and law. In the philosophy of decision theory, Bayesian inference is closely related to subjective probability, often called "Bayesian probability".
Introduction to Bayes' rule
Bayes' theorem
Bayesian probability
Formal explanation
Bayesian inference derives the posterior probability as a consequence of two antecedents: a prior probability and a "likelihood function" derived from a statistical model for the observed data. Bayesian inference

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This thesis is a contribution to financial statistics. One of the principal concerns of investors is the evaluation of portfolio risk. The notion of risk is vague, but in finance it is always linked to possible losses. In this thesis, we present some measures allowing the valuation of risk with the help of Bayesian methods. An exploratory analysis of data is presented to describe the sampling properties of financial time series. This analysis allows us to understand the origins of the daily returns studied in this thesis. Moreover, a discussion of different models is presented. These models make strong assumptions on investor behaviour, which are not always satisfied. This exploratory analysis shows some differences between the behaviour anticipated under equilibrium models, and that of real data. The Bayesian approach has been chosen because it allows one to incorporate all the variability, in particular that associated with model choice. The models studied in this thesis allow one to take heteroskedasticity into account, as well as particular shapes of the tails of returns. ARCH type models and models based on extreme value theory are studied. One original aspect of this thesis is its use of Bayesian analysis to detect change points in financial time series. We suppose that a market has two phases, and that it switches from a state to the other at random. Another new contribution is a model integrating heteroskedasticity and time dependence of extreme values, by superposition of the model proposed by Bortot and Coles (2003) and a GARCH process. This thesis uses simulation intensively for the estimation of risk measures. The drawback of simulation is the amount of time needed to obtain accurate estimates. However, simulation allows one to produce results when direct calculation is not feasible. For example, simulation allows one to compute risk estimates for time horizons greater than one day. The methods presented in this thesis are illustrated on simulated data, and on real data from European and American markets. This thesis involved the construction of a library containing C and S code to perform risk analysis using GARCH and extreme value theory models. The results show that model uncertainty can be incorporated, and that risk measures for time horizons greater than one can be obtained by simulation. The methods presented in this thesis have a natural representation involving conditioning. Thus, they permit the computation of both conditional and unconditional risk estimates. Three methods are described: the GARCH method; the two-state GARCH method; and the HBC method. Unconditional risk estimation using the GARCH method is satisfactory on data which seem stationary, but not reliable on data which are non-stationary, such as data with change points. The two-state GARCH model does a little better, but gives very satisfactory results when the risk is estimated conditionally on time. The HBC method does not give satisfactory results.

Mohammad Emtiyaz Khan, Young Jun Ko

Bilinear models of count data with Poisson distribution are popular in applications such as matrix factorization for recommendation systems, modeling of receptive fields of sensory neurons, and modeling of neural-spike trains. Bayesian inference in such models remains challenging due to the product term of two Gaussian random vectors. In this paper, we propose new algorithms for such models based on variational Gaussian (VG) inference. We make two contributions. First, we show that the VG lower bound for these models, previously known to be intractable, is available in closed form under certain non-trivial constraints on the form of the posterior. Second, we show that the lower bound is biconcave and can be efficiently optimized for mean-field approximations. We also show that bi-concavity generalizes to the larger family of log-concave likelihoods, that subsume the Poisson distribution. We present new inference algorithms based on these results and demonstrate better performance on real-world problems at the cost of a modest increase in computation. Our contributions in this paper, therefore, provide more choices for Bayesian inference in terms of a speed-vs-accuracy tradeoff.

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We present a Bayesian inference for a three-dimensional hydrodynamic model of Lake Geneva with stochastic weather forcing and high-frequency observational datasets. This is achieved by coupling a Bayesian inference package, SPUX, with a hydrodynamics package, MITgcm, into a single framework, SPUX-MITgcm. To mitigate uncertainty in the atmospheric forcing, we use a smoothed particle Markov chain Monte Carlo method, where the intermediate model state posteriors are resampled in accordance with their respective observational likelihoods. To improve the uncertainty quantification in the particle filter, we develop a bi-directional long short-term memory (BiLSTM) neural network to estimate lake skin temperature from a history of hydrodynamic bulk temperature predictions and atmospheric data. This study analyzes the benefit and costs of such a state-of-the-art computationally expensive calibration and assimilation method for lakes.