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Publication# Context models on sequences of covers

Abstract

We present a class of models that, via a simple construction, enables exact, incremental, non-parametric, polynomial-time, Bayesian inference of conditional measures. The approach relies upon creating a sequence of covers on the conditioning variable and maintaining a different model for each set within a cover. Inference remains tractable by specifying the probabilistic model in terms of a random walk within the sequence of covers. We demonstrate the approach on problems of conditional density estimation, which, to our knowledge is the first closed-form, non-parametric Bayesian approach to this problem

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Bayesian inference

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.

Statistical inference

Statistical inference is the process of using data analysis to infer properties of an underlying distribution of probability. Inferential statistical analysis infers properties of a population, for example by testing hypotheses and deriving estimates. It is assumed that the observed data set is sampled from a larger population. Inferential statistics can be contrasted with descriptive statistics. Descriptive statistics is solely concerned with properties of the observed data, and it does not rest on the assumption that the data come from a larger population.

Statistical model

A statistical model is a mathematical model that embodies a set of statistical assumptions concerning the generation of sample data (and similar data from a larger population). A statistical model represents, often in considerably idealized form, the data-generating process. When referring specifically to probabilities, the corresponding term is probabilistic model. A statistical model is usually specified as a mathematical relationship between one or more random variables and other non-random variables.

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