Topics in Bayesian Hierarchical Modeling and its Monte Carlo Computations

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Topics in Bayesian Hierarchical Modeling and its Monte Carlo Computations

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Title: Topics in Bayesian Hierarchical Modeling and its Monte Carlo Computations
Author: Tak, Hyung Suk
Citation: Tak, Hyung Suk. 2016. Topics in Bayesian Hierarchical Modeling and its Monte Carlo Computations. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
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Abstract: The first chapter addresses a Beta-Binomial-Logit model that is a Beta-Binomial conjugate hierarchical model with covariate information incorporated via a logistic regression. Various researchers in the literature have unknowingly used improper posterior distributions or have given incorrect statements about posterior propriety because checking posterior propriety can be challenging due to the complicated functional form of a Beta-Binomial-Logit model. We derive data-dependent necessary and sufficient conditions for posterior propriety within a class of hyper-prior distributions that encompass those used in previous studies. Frequency coverage properties of several hyper-prior distributions are also investigated to see when and whether Bayesian interval estimates of random effects meet their nominal confidence levels.

The second chapter deals with a time delay estimation problem in astrophysics. When the gravitational field of an intervening galaxy between a quasar and the Earth is strong enough to split light into two or more images, the time delay is defined as the difference between their travel times. The time delay can be used to constrain cosmological parameters and can be inferred from the time series of brightness data of each image. To estimate the time delay, we construct a Gaussian hierarchical model based on a state-space representation for irregularly observed time series generated by a latent continuous-time Ornstein-Uhlenbeck process. Our Bayesian approach jointly infers model parameters via a Gibbs sampler. We also introduce a profile likelihood of the time delay as an approximation of its marginal posterior distribution.

The last chapter specifies a repelling-attracting Metropolis algorithm, a new Markov chain Monte Carlo method to explore multi-modal distributions in a simple and fast manner. This algorithm is essentially a Metropolis-Hastings algorithm with a proposal that consists of a downhill move in density that aims to make local modes repelling, followed by an uphill move in density that aims to make local modes attracting. The downhill move is achieved via a reciprocal Metropolis ratio so that the algorithm prefers downward movement. The uphill move does the opposite using the standard Metropolis ratio which prefers upward movement. This down-up movement in density increases the probability of a proposed move to a different mode.
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Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:33493573
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