Category: Books

running after my plane

A bit of a hectic trip to Abidjan last Sunday, starting from Caen in the early morning where I was supporting my daughter, wife, mother, and mother-in-law for the annual Rochambelle women-only 5k race on the previous evening! With my daughter managing a fantastic 52nd position and ending up first of her category! As I […]


I found my (short) trip to Abdijan for the CISEA 2019 conference quite fantastic as it allowed me to meet with old friends, from the earliest days at CREST and even before, and to meet new ones. Including local students of ENSEA who had taken a Bayesian course out of my Bayesian Choice book. And […]

Bayesian conjugate gradients [open for discussion]

When fishing for an illustration for this post on Google, I came upon this Bayesian methods for hackers cover, a book about which I have no clue whatsoever (!) but that mentions probabilistic programming. Which serves as a perfect (?!) introduction to the call for discussion in Bayesian Analysis of the incoming Bayesian conjugate gradient […]

A la Bienale di Venezia

Taking advantage of staying in Venezia over the weekend, we went to the huge international contemporary art exhibit located all over the city but mostly in the Arsenale and in the gardens. This was quite impressive in terms of diversity and style, of course, although the general feeling was rather bleak, centering on pollution and […]

cuida tu vestido y no hables tanto, Jorge!

“”In our societies, it even seems homosexuality is fashionable. And this mentality, in some way, also influences the life of the Church (..) Therefore, the Church recommends that people with that kind of ingrained tendency should not be accepted into the ministry or consecrated life. The ministry or the consecrated life is not his place.” […]

likelihood-free approximate Gibbs sampling

“Low-dimensional regression-based models are constructed for each of these conditional distributions using synthetic (simulated) parameter value and summary statistic pairs, which then permit approximate Gibbs update steps (…) synthetic datasets are not generated during each sampler iteration, thereby providing efficiencies for expensive simulator models, and only require sufficient synthetic datasets to adequately construct the full […]

space opera by John Scalzi [book review]

John Scalzi, author of the memorable Old Man’s War, has started a trilogy of which I only became aware recently (or more precisely became re-aware!), which has the perk of making two of the three books already published and hence available without a one or two year break. And having the book win the 2018 […]

from tramway to Panzer (or back!)…

Although it is usually presented as the tramway problem, namely estimating the number of tram or bus lines in a city given observing one line number, including The Bayesian Choice by yours truly, the original version of the problem is about German tanks, Panzer V tanks to be precise, which total number M was to […]

skipping sampler

“The Skipping Sampler is an adaptation of the MH algorithm designed to sample from targets which have areas of zero density. It ‘skips’ across such areas, much as a flat stone can skip or skim repeatedly across the surface of water.” An interesting challenge is simulating from a density restricted to a set C when […]

another attempt at code golf

I had another lazy weekend go at code golf, trying to code in the most condensed way the following task. Provided with a square matrix A of positive integers, keep iterating the steps take the highest square 𝑥² in A. find the smallest adjacent neighbour 𝑛 replace x² with x and n with nx until […]

riddles on Egyptian fractions and Bernoulli factories

Two fairy different riddles on the weekend Riddler. The first one is (in fine) about Egyptian fractions: I understand the first one as Find the Egyptian fraction decomposition of 2 into 11 distinct unit fractions that maximises the smallest fraction. And which I cannot solve despite perusing this amazing webpage on Egyptian fractions and making […]

A precursor of ABC-Gibbs

Following our arXival of ABC-Gibbs, Dennis Prangle pointed out to us a 2016 paper by Athanasios Kousathanas, Christoph Leuenberger, Jonas Helfer, Mathieu Quinodoz, Matthieu Foll, and Daniel Wegmann, Likelihood-Free Inference in High-Dimensional Model, published in Genetics, Vol. 203, 893–904 in June 2016. This paper contains a version of ABC Gibbs where parameters are sequentially simulated […]

assessing MCMC convergence

When MCMC became mainstream in the 1990’s, there was a flurry of proposals to check, assess, and even guarantee convergence to the stationary distribution, as discussed in our MCMC book. Along with Chantal Guihenneuc and Kerrie Mengersen, we also maintained for a while a reviewww webpage categorising theses. Niloy Biswas and Pierre Jacob have recently […]

non-uniform Laplace generation

This year, the French Statistical Society (SFDS) Prix Laplace has been granted to Luc Devroye, author of the Non-Uniform Random Generation bible. among many achievements!, prize that he will receive during the 2019 meeting in Nancy, this very week.

last call for O’Bayes in Warwick

This is a last call for late participants or would-be participants to the O’Bayes conference at the end of the month, in Warwick on 28 June – 02 July, and right after the BNP 12 conference. Posters can still be submitted to me and registrat…

Bayesian Inference, at £1400 per chapter…

Another unsolicited email (“This is a friendly reminder that….”) from a UK operator called IntechOpen about publishing a chapter in an Open Access book about Bayesian Inference. And edited by Tang Niansheng. As detailed on the publisher page “The aim of this book is to introduce the newly developed Bayesian methods, including Bayesian variable selection […]

logicomix redux

I had not made the link until the last speaker of the 50 years of Dauphine commemoration was introduced that he was one of the authors of Logicomix. He spoke of the mathematical modeling of neurons and brain activity, rather than comics, but at a very low level that he called cartoonesque. It is a […]

end of the game

While I have not watched a large part of the Game of Thrones episodes (apart from the first season I had time to follow while in the hospital), I decided to subscribe for one [free] month to OCS to get the last and final season [unlike a NYT critic who watches the entire eight seasons […]

truncated Normal moments

An interesting if presumably hopeless question spotted on X validated: a lower-truncated Normal distribution is parameterised by its location, scale, and truncation values, μ, σ, and α. There exist formulas to derive the mean and variance of the resulting distribution,  that is, when α=0, and but there is no easy way to choose (μ, σ) […]