[1305.5712] Fast inference in generalized linear models via expected log-likelihoods

may 2013 by cshalizi

"Generalized linear models play an essential role in a wide variety of statistical applications. This paper discusses an approximation of the likelihood in these models that can greatly facilitate computation. The basic idea is to replace a sum that appears in the exact log-likelihood by an expectation over the model covariates; the resulting "expected log-likelihood" can in many cases be computed significantly faster than the exact log-likelihood. In many neuroscience experiments the distribution over model covariates is controlled by the experimenter and the expected log-likelihood approximation becomes particularly useful; for example, estimators based on maximizing this expected log-likelihood (or a penalized version thereof) can often be obtained with orders of magnitude computational savings compared to the exact maximum likelihood estimators. A risk analysis establishes that these maximum EL estimators often come with little cost in accuracy (and in some cases even improved accuracy) compared to standard maximum likelihood estimates. Finally, we find that these methods can significantly decrease the computation time of marginal likelihood calculations for model selection and of Markov chain Monte Carlo methods for sampling from the posterior parameter distribution. We illustrate our results by applying these methods to a computationally-challenging dataset of neural spike trains obtained via large-scale multi-electrode recordings in the primate retina."

to:NB
estimation
likelihood
computational_statistics
paninski.liam
to_teach:statcomp
to_teach:undergrad-ADA
generalized_linear_models
may 2013 by cshalizi

Maximally reliable Markov chains under energy constraints

august 2009 by cshalizi

"Biological processes for which highly stereotyped signal generations are necessary features appear to have reduced their signal variabilities by employing multiple processing steps. To better understand why this multistep cascade structure might be desirable, we prove that the reliability of a signal generated by a multistate system with no memory (i.e., a Markov chain) is maximal if and only if the system topology is such that the process steps irreversibly through each state, with transition rates chosen such that an equal fraction of the total signal is generated in each state. Furthermore, our result indicates that by increasing the number of states, it is possible to arbitrarily increase the reliability of the system. In a physical system, however, an energy cost is associated with maintaining irreversible transitions, and this cost increases with the number of such transitions (i.e., the number of states)."

signal_transduction
signal_processing
markov_models
in_NB
paninski.liam
august 2009 by cshalizi

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