About this course: This course describes Bayesian statistics, in which one's inferences about parameters or hypotheses are updated as evidence accumulates. You will learn to use Bayes' rule to transform prior probabilities into posterior probabilities, and be introduced to the underlying theory and perspective of the Bayesian paradigm. The course will apply Bayesian methods to several practical problems, to show end-to-end Bayesian analyses that move from framing the question to building models to eliciting prior probabilities to implementing in R (free statistical software) the final posterior distribution. Additionally, the course will introduce credible regions, Bayesian comparisons of means and proportions, Bayesian regression and inference using multiple models, and discussion of Bayesian prediction. We assume learners in this course have background knowledge equivalent to what is covered in the earlier three courses in this specialization: "Introduction to Probability and Data," "Inferential Statistics," and "Linear Regression and Modeling."
Bayesian Computational Analyses with R is an introductory course on the use and implementation of Bayesian modeling using R software. The Bayesian approach is an alternative to the "frequentist" approach where one simply takes a sample of data and makes inferences about the likely parameters of the population. In contrast, the Bayesian approach uses both likelihood functions and a sample of observed data (the'prior') to estimate the most likely values and distributions for the estimated population parameters (the'posterior'). The course is useful to anyone who wishes to learn about Bayesian concepts and is suited to both novice and intermediate Bayesian students and Bayesian practitioners. It is both a practical, "hands-on" course with many examples using R scripts and software, and is conceptual, as the course explains the Bayesian concepts. All materials, software, R scripts, slides, exercises and solutions are included with the course materials. It is helpful to have some grounding in basic inferential statistics and probability theory. No experience with R is necessary, although it is also helpful.
The challenges of effective health risk communication are well known. This paper provides pointers to the health communication literature that discuss these problems. Tailoring printed information, visual displays, and interactive multimedia have been proposed in the health communication literature as promising approaches. On-line risk communication applications are increasing on the internet. However, potential effectiveness of applications using conventional computer technology is limited. We propose that use of artificial intelligence, building upon research in Intelligent Tutoring Systems, might be able to overcome these limitations.
A standard introduction to online learning might place Online Gradient Descent at its center and then proceed to develop generalizations and extensions like Online Mirror Descent and second-order methods. Here we explore the alternative approach of putting exponential weights (EW) first. We show that many standard methods and their regret bounds then follow as a special case by plugging in suitable surrogate losses and playing the EW posterior mean. For instance, we easily recover Online Gradient Descent by using EW with a Gaussian prior on linearized losses, and, more generally, all instances of Online Mirror Descent based on regular Bregman divergences also correspond to EW with a prior that depends on the mirror map. Furthermore, appropriate quadratic surrogate losses naturally give rise to Online Gradient Descent for strongly convex losses and to Online Newton Step. We further interpret several recent adaptive methods (iProd, Squint, and a variation of Coin Betting for experts) as a series of closely related reductions to exp-concave surrogate losses that are then handled by Exponential Weights. Finally, a benefit of our EW interpretation is that it opens up the possibility of sampling from the EW posterior distribution instead of playing the mean. As already observed by Bubeck and Eldan, this recovers the best-known rate in Online Bandit Linear Optimization.
Reliance on computationally expensive algorithms for inference has been limiting the use of Bayesian nonparametric models in large scale applications. To tackle this problem, we propose a Bayesian learning algorithm for DP mixture models. Instead of following the conventional paradigm -- random initialization plus iterative update, we take an progressive approach. Starting with a given prior, our method recursively transforms it into an approximate posterior through sequential variational approximation. In this process, new components will be incorporated on the fly when needed. The algorithm can reliably estimate a DP mixture model in one pass, making it particularly suited for applications with massive data. Experiments on both synthetic data and real datasets demonstrate remarkable improvement on efficiency -- orders of magnitude speed-up compared to the state-of-the-art.