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Bayesian Computing Course

Material for course on Bayesian Computation



This tutorial assumes that you have Anaconda (Python 3.7) setup and installed on your system. If you do not, please download and install Anaconda on your system before proceeding with the setup.

The next step is to clone or download the tutorial materials in this repository. If you are familiar with Git, run the clone command:

git clone

otherwise you can download a zip file of its contents, and unzip it on your computer.

The repository for this tutorial contains a file called environment.yml that includes a list of all the packages used for the tutorial. If you run:

conda env create

from the main tutorial directory, it will create the environment for you and install all of the packages listed. This environment can be enabled using:

conda activate bayes_course

Then, you can start JupyterLab to access the materials:

jupyter lab

The binder link above should also provide a working environment.

Pre-course Work

In advance of the course, we would like attendees to complete a short homework notebook that will ensure everyone has the requisite baseline knowledge. You can find this Jupyter notebook in the /notebooks subdirectory (under Section0-Pre_Work.ipynb). There is no need to hand this in to anyone, but please reach out if you have difficulty with any of the problems (or with setting up your computing environment) by creating an issue in this repository, or by emailing.

Course Outline

The course comprises six 2-hour modules of videoconference lectures, along with short associated hands-on projects to reinforce materials covered during lectures. The first four sections cover core materials related to Bayesian computation, while the final two modules are elective material chosen by your group, which extend the concepts covered by the core sections to specific topics: time series modeling and non-parametric Bayesian models.

Monday, July 13

Hierarchcial Models (Chris) 2:00pm - 4:00pm

  • Motivation and case studies
  • Partial pooling
  • Building hierarchical models
  • Parameterizations
  • Model checking

Wednesday, July 15

Markov chain Monte Carlo (Thomas) 2:00pm - 4:00pm

  • Probability density functions, inverse CDF sampling
  • Rejection sampling
  • MCMC basics
  • Metropolis-Hastings samplers
  • Gibbs samplers

Friday, July 17

Gradient-based MCMC (Chris) 2:00pm - 4:00pm

  • Problems with first-generation MCMC methods
  • Using gradient information to improve MCMC
  • Hamiltonian Monte Carlo
  • NUTS
  • Diagnostics

Monday, July 20

The Bayesian Workflow (Thomas) 2:00pm - 4:00pm

  • Prior predictive checks
  • Iterating models
  • Posterior predictive checks
  • Using the model

Wednesday, July 22

Bayesian Non-parametric Models (Chris) 2:00pm - 4:00pm

  • Kernel-based models
  • Modeling with Gaussian distributions
  • Gaussian processes
  • Covariance functions
  • Bayesian optimization

Friday, July 24

Bayesian Time Series Models (Thomas) 2:00pm - 4:00pm

  • Modeling repeated measurements
  • Structural time series models
  • Hierarchical time series models
  • Censored data and survival models
  • Model checking
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