Juxtapose: Juxtapose MCMC Algorithm Inefficiency

Description Usage Arguments Details Value References See Also Examples

View source: R/Juxtapose.R


This function gives a side-by-side comparison of (or juxtaposes) the inefficiency of MCMC algorithms in LaplacesDemon for applied use, and is a valuable tool for selecting what is likely to be the least inefficient algorithm for the user's current model, prior to updating the final, intended model.





This is a list of multiple components. Each component must be an object of class demonoid.


Laplace's Demon recommends using the Juxtapose function on the user's model (or most likely a simplified version of it) with a smaller, simulated data set to select the least inefficient MCMC algorithm before using real data and updating the model for numerous iterations. The least inefficient MCMC algorithm differs for different models and data sets. Using Juxtapose in this way does not guarantee that the selected algorithm will remain the best choice with real data, but it should be better than otherwise selecting an algorithm.

The user must make a decision regarding their model and data. The more similar the model and data is to the final, intended model and data, the more appropriate will be the results of the Juxtapose function. However, if the full model and data are used, then the user may as well instead skip using Juxtapose and proceed directly to LaplacesDemon. Replacing the actual data set with a smaller, simulated set is fairly straightforward, but the decision-making will most likely focus on what is the best way to reduce the full model specification. A simple approach may be to merely reduce the number of predictors. However, complicated models may have several components that slow down estimation time, and extend the amount of time until global stationarity is estimated. Laplace's Demon offers no guidance here, and leaves it in the realm of user discretion.

First, the user should simulate a smaller data set, and if best, reduce the model specification. Next, the user must select candidate algorithms. Then, the user must update each algorithm with LaplacesDemon for numerous iterations, with the goal of achieving stationarity for all parameters early in the iterations. Each update should begin with the same model specification function, vector of initial values, and data. Each output object of class demonoid should be renamed. An example follows.

Suppose a user considers three candidate algorithms for their model: AMWG, NUTS, and twalk. The user updates each model, saving the model that used the AMWG algorithm as, say, Fit1, the NUTS model as Fit2, and the twalk model as Fit3.

Next, the output model objects are put in a list and passed to the Juxtapose function. See the example below.

The Juxtapose function uses an internal version of the IAT, which is a slightly modified version of that found in the SamplerCompare package. The Juxtapose function returns an object of class juxtapose. It is a matrix in which each row is a result and each column is an algorithm.

The rows are:

As for calculating ISM, let TIM be the observed number of thinned iterations per minute, PS be the percent of iterations in which all parameters were estimated to be globally stationary, and IAT[q] be a quantile from a simulated distribution of the integrated autocorrelation time among the parameters.

ISM = (PS x TIM) / IAT[q]

There are various ways to measure the inefficiency of MCMC samplers. IAT is used perhaps most often. As with the SamplerCompare package, Laplace's Demon uses the worst parameter, in terms of IAT. Often, the number of evaluations or number of parameters is considered. The Juxtapose function, instead considers the final criterion of MCMC efficiency, in an applied context, to be ISM, or the number of Independent (thinned) Samples per Minute. The algorithm with the highest ISM.500 is the best, or least inefficient, algorithm with respect to its worst IAT, the proportion of iterations required to seem to have global stationarity, and the number of (thinned) iterations per minute.

A disadvantage of using time is that it will differ by computer, and is less likely to be reported in a journal. The advantage, though, is that it is more meaningful to a user. Increases in the number of evaluations, parameters, and time should all correlate well, but time may enlighten a user as to expected run-time given the model just studied, even though the real data set will most likely be larger than the simulated data used initially. NUTS is an example of a sampler in which the number of evaluations varies per iteration. For an alternative approach, see Thompson (2010).

The Juxtapose function also adjusts ISM by prop.stat, the proportion of the iterations in which all chains were estimated to be stationary. This adjustment is weighted by burn-in iterations, penalizing an algorithm that took longer to achieve global stationarity. The goal, again, is to assist the user in selecting the least inefficient MCMC algorithm in an applied setting.

The Juxtapose function has many other potential uses than those described above. One additional use of the Juxtapose function is to compare inefficiencies within a single algorithm in which algorithmic specifications varied with different model updates. Another use is to investigate parallel chains in an object of class demonoid.hpc, as returned from the LaplacesDemon.hpc function. Yet another use is to compare the effects of small changes to a model specification function, such as with priors, or due to an increase in the amount of simulated data.

An object of class juxtapose may be plotted with the plot.juxtapose function, which displays ISM by default, or optionally IAT. For more information, see the plot.juxtapose function.

Independent samples per minute, calculated as ESS divided by minutes of run-time, are also available by parameter in the PosteriorChecks function.


This function returns an object of class juxtapose. It is a 9 x J matrix with nine results for J MCMC algorithms.


Thompson, M. (2010). "Graphical Comparison of MCMC Performance". ArXiv e-prints, eprint 1011.4458.

See Also

IAT, is.juxtapose, LaplacesDemon, LaplacesDemon.hpc, plot.juxtapose, and PosteriorChecks.


### Update three demonoid objects, each from different MCMC algorithms.
### Suppose Fit1 was updated with AFSS, Fit2 with AMWG, and
### Fit3 with NUTS. Then, compare the inefficiencies:
#Juxt <- Juxtapose(list(Fit1=Fit1, Fit2=Fit2, Fit3=Fit3)); Juxt
#plot(Juxt, Style="ISM")

LaplacesDemon documentation built on July 1, 2018, 9:02 a.m.