An efficient interpolation technique for jump proposals in reversible-jump Markov chain Monte Carlo calculations

W M Farr, I Mandel, D Stevens
Royal Society Open Science 2015, 2 (6): 150030
Selection among alternative theoretical models given an observed dataset is an important challenge in many areas of physics and astronomy. Reversible-jump Markov chain Monte Carlo (RJMCMC) is an extremely powerful technique for performing Bayesian model selection, but it suffers from a fundamental difficulty and it requires jumps between model parameter spaces, but cannot efficiently explore both parameter spaces at once. Thus, a naive jump between parameter spaces is unlikely to be accepted in the Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) algorithm and convergence is correspondingly slow. Here, we demonstrate an interpolation technique that uses samples from single-model MCMCs to propose intermodel jumps from an approximation to the single-model posterior of the target parameter space. The interpolation technique, based on a kD-tree data structure, is adaptive and efficient in modest dimensionality. We show that our technique leads to improved convergence over naive jumps in an RJMCMC, and compare it to other proposals in the literature to improve the convergence of RJMCMCs. We also demonstrate the use of the same interpolation technique as a way to construct efficient 'global' proposal distributions for single-model MCMCs without prior knowledge of the structure of the posterior distribution, and discuss improvements that permit the method to be used in higher dimensional spaces efficiently.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"