Exact Markov chain Monte Carlo and Bayesian linear regression
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
In this work we investigate the use of perfect sampling methods within the context of Bayesian linear regression. We focus on inference problems related to the marginal posterior model probabilities. Model averaged inference for the response and Bayesian variable selection are considered. Perfect sampling is an alternate form of Markov chain Monte Carlo that generates exact sample points from the posterior of interest. This approach removes the need for burn-in assessment faced by traditional MCMC methods. For model averaged inference, we find the monotone Gibbs coupling from the past (CFTP) algorithm is the preferred choice. This requires the predictor matrix be orthogonal, preventing variable selection, but allowing model averaging for prediction of the response. Exploring choices of priors for the parameters in the Bayesian linear model, we investigate sufficiency for monotonicity assuming Gaussian errors. We discover that a number of other sufficient conditions exist, besides an orthogonal predictor matrix, for the construction of a monotone Gibbs Markov chain. Requiring an orthogonal predictor matrix, we investigate new methods of orthogonalizing the original predictor matrix. We find that a new method using the modified Gram-Schmidt orthogonalization procedure performs comparably with existing transformation methods, such as generalized principal components. Accounting for the effect of using an orthogonal predictor matrix, we discover that inference using model averaging for in-sample prediction of the response is comparable between the original and orthogonal predictor matrix. The Gibbs sampler is then investigated for sampling when using the original predictor matrix and the orthogonal predictor matrix. We find that a hybrid method, using a standard Gibbs sampler on the orthogonal space in conjunction with the monotone CFTP Gibbs sampler, provides the fastest computation and convergence to the posterior distribution. We conclude the hybrid approach should be used when the monotone Gibbs CFTP sampler becomes impractical, due to large backwards coupling times. We demonstrate large backwards coupling times occur when the sample size is close to the number of predictors, or when hyper-parameter choices increase model competition. The monotone Gibbs CFTP sampler should be taken advantage of when the backwards coupling time is small. For the problem of variable selection we turn to the exact version of the independent Metropolis-Hastings (IMH) algorithm. We reiterate the notion that the exact IMH sampler is redundant, being a needlessly complicated rejection sampler. We then determine a rejection sampler is feasible for variable selection when the sample size is close to the number of predictors and using Zellner’s prior with a small value for the hyper-parameter c. Finally, we use the example of simulating from the posterior of c conditional on a model to demonstrate how the use of an exact IMH view-point clarifies how the rejection sampler can be adapted to improve efficiency.