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Theses Doctoral

Bayesian Model Selection in terms of Kullback-Leibler discrepancy

Zhou, Shouhao

In this article we investigate and develop the practical model assessment and selection methods for Bayesian models, when we anticipate that a promising approach should be objective enough to accept, easy enough to understand, general enough to apply, simple enough to compute and coherent enough to interpret. We mainly restrict attention to the Kullback-Leibler divergence, a widely applied model evaluation measurement to quantify the similarity between the proposed candidate model and the underlying true model, where the true model is only referred to a probability distribution as the best projection onto the statistical modeling space once we try to understand the real but unknown dynamics/mechanism of interest. In addition to review and discussion on the advantages and disadvantages of the historically and currently prevailing practical model selection methods in literature, a series of convenient and useful tools, each designed and applied for different purposes, are proposed to asymptotically unbiasedly assess how the candidate Bayesian models are favored in terms of predicting a future independent observation. What's more, we also explore the connection of the Kullback-Leibler based information criterion to the Bayes factors, another most popular Bayesian model comparison approaches, after seeing the motivation through the developments of the Bayes factor variants. In general, we expect to provide a useful guidance for researchers who are interested in conducting Bayesian data analysis.



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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Madigan, David
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
February 25, 2013