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1.  Locally Adaptive Bayes Nonparametric Regression via Nested Gaussian Processes 
Journal of the American Statistical Association  2013;108(504):10.1080/01621459.2013.838568.
We propose a nested Gaussian process (nGP) as a locally adaptive prior for Bayesian nonparametric regression. Specified through a set of stochastic differential equations (SDEs), the nGP imposes a Gaussian process prior for the function’s mth-order derivative. The nesting comes in through including a local instantaneous mean function, which is drawn from another Gaussian process inducing adaptivity to locally-varying smoothness. We discuss the support of the nGP prior in terms of the closure of a reproducing kernel Hilbert space, and consider theoretical properties of the posterior. The posterior mean under the nGP prior is shown to be equivalent to the minimizer of a nested penalized sum-of-squares involving penalties for both the global and local roughness of the function. Using highly-efficient Markov chain Monte Carlo for posterior inference, the proposed method performs well in simulation studies compared to several alternatives, and is scalable to massive data, illustrated through a proteomics application.
PMCID: PMC4196220  PMID: 25328260
Bayesian nonparametric regression; Nested Gaussian processes; Nested smoothing spline; Penalized sum-of-square; Reproducing kernel Hilbert space; Stochastic differential equations
2.  Lipid Adjustment for Chemical Exposures: Accounting for Concomitant Variables 
Epidemiology (Cambridge, Mass.)  2013;24(6):10.1097/EDE.0b013e3182a671e4.
Some environmental chemical exposures are lipophilic and need to be adjusted by serum lipid levels before data analyses. There are currently various strategies that attempt to account for this problem, but all have their drawbacks. To address such concerns, we propose a new method that uses Box-Cox transformations and a simple Bayesian hierarchical model to adjust for lipophilic chemical exposures.
We compared our Box-Cox method to existing methods. We ran simulation studies in which increasing levels of lipid-adjusted chemical exposure did and did not increase the odds of having a disease, and we looked at both single-exposure and multiple-exposures cases. We also analyzed an epidemiology dataset that examined the effects of various chemical exposures on the risk of birth defects.
Compared with existing methods, our Box-Cox method produced unbiased estimates, good coverage, similar power, and lower type-I error rates. This was the case in both single- and multiple-exposure simulation studies. Results from analysis of the birth-defect data differed from results using existing methods.
Our Box-Cox method is a novel and intuitive way to account for the lipophilic nature of certain chemical exposures. It addresses some of the problems with existing methods, is easily extendable to multiple exposures, and can be used in any analyses that involve concomitant variables.
PMCID: PMC3812826  PMID: 24051893
3.  Generalized Beta Mixtures of Gaussians 
In recent years, a rich variety of shrinkage priors have been proposed that have great promise in addressing massive regression problems. In general, these new priors can be expressed as scale mixtures of normals, but have more complex forms and better properties than traditional Cauchy and double exponential priors. We first propose a new class of normal scale mixtures through a novel generalized beta distribution that encompasses many interesting priors as special cases. This encompassing framework should prove useful in comparing competing priors, considering properties and revealing close connections. We then develop a class of variational Bayes approximations through the new hierarchy presented that will scale more efficiently to the types of truly massive data sets that are now encountered routinely.
PMCID: PMC4214276  PMID: 25364213
4.  A Bayesian Model for Simultaneous Image Clustering, Annotation and Object Segmentation 
A non-parametric Bayesian model is proposed for processing multiple images. The analysis employs image features and, when present, the words associated with accompanying annotations. The model clusters the images into classes, and each image is segmented into a set of objects, also allowing the opportunity to assign a word to each object (localized labeling). Each object is assumed to be represented as a heterogeneous mix of components, with this realized via mixture models linking image features to object types. The number of image classes, number of object types, and the characteristics of the object-feature mixture models are inferred nonparametrically. To constitute spatially contiguous objects, a new logistic stick-breaking process is developed. Inference is performed efficiently via variational Bayesian analysis, with example results presented on two image databases.
PMCID: PMC4211027  PMID: 25360065
5.  Classification with Incomplete Data Using Dirichlet Process Priors 
A non-parametric hierarchical Bayesian framework is developed for designing a classifier, based on a mixture of simple (linear) classifiers. Each simple classifier is termed a local “expert”, and the number of experts and their construction are manifested via a Dirichlet process formulation. The simple form of the “experts” allows analytical handling of incomplete data. The model is extended to allow simultaneous design of classifiers on multiple data sets, termed multi-task learning, with this also performed non-parametrically via the Dirichlet process. Fast inference is performed using variational Bayesian (VB) analysis, and example results are presented for several data sets. We also perform inference via Gibbs sampling, to which we compare the VB results.
PMCID: PMC3754453  PMID: 23990757
classification; incomplete data; expert; Dirichlet process; variational Bayesian; multitask learning
6.  Bayesian consensus clustering 
Bioinformatics  2013;29(20):2610-2616.
Motivation: In biomedical research a growing number of platforms and technologies are used to measure diverse but related information, and the task of clustering a set of objects based on multiple sources of data arises in several applications. Most current approaches to multisource clustering either independently determine a separate clustering for each data source or determine a single ‘joint’ clustering for all data sources. There is a need for more flexible approaches that simultaneously model the dependence and the heterogeneity of the data sources.
Results: We propose an integrative statistical model that permits a separate clustering of the objects for each data source. These separate clusterings adhere loosely to an overall consensus clustering, and hence they are not independent. We describe a computationally scalable Bayesian framework for simultaneous estimation of both the consensus clustering and the source-specific clusterings. We demonstrate that this flexible approach is more robust than joint clustering of all data sources, and is more powerful than clustering each data source independently. We present an application to subtype identification of breast cancer tumor samples using publicly available data from The Cancer Genome Atlas.
Availability: R code with instructions and examples is available at
Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
PMCID: PMC3789539  PMID: 23990412
7.  Tree-Structured Infinite Sparse Factor Model 
A tree-structured multiplicative gamma process (TMGP) is developed, for inferring the depth of a tree-based factor-analysis model. This new model is coupled with the nested Chinese restaurant process, to nonparametrically infer the depth and width (structure) of the tree. In addition to developing the model, theoretical properties of the TMGP are addressed, and a novel MCMC sampler is developed. The structure of the inferred tree is used to learn relationships between high-dimensional data, and the model is also applied to compressive sensing and interpolation of incomplete images.
PMCID: PMC4180059  PMID: 25279389
8.  Topic Modeling with Nonparametric Markov Tree 
A new hierarchical tree-based topic model is developed, based on nonparametric Bayesian techniques. The model has two unique attributes: (i) a child node in the tree may have more than one parent, with the goal of eliminating redundant sub-topics deep in the tree; and (ii) parsimonious sub-topics are manifested, by removing redundant usage of words at multiple scales. The depth and width of the tree are unbounded within the prior, with a retrospective sampler employed to adaptively infer the appropriate tree size based upon the corpus under study. Excellent quantitative results are manifested on five standard data sets, and the inferred tree structure is also found to be highly interpretable.
PMCID: PMC4179208  PMID: 25279387
9.  Logistic Stick-Breaking Process 
A logistic stick-breaking process (LSBP) is proposed for non-parametric clustering of general spatially- or temporally-dependent data, imposing the belief that proximate data are more likely to be clustered together. The sticks in the LSBP are realized via multiple logistic regression functions, with shrinkage priors employed to favor contiguous and spatially localized segments. The LSBP is also extended for the simultaneous processing of multiple data sets, yielding a hierarchical logistic stick-breaking process (H-LSBP). The model parameters (atoms) within the H-LSBP are shared across the multiple learning tasks. Efficient variational Bayesian inference is derived, and comparisons are made to related techniques in the literature. Experimental analysis is performed for audio waveforms and images, and it is demonstrated that for segmentation applications the LSBP yields generally homogeneous segments with sharp boundaries.
PMCID: PMC4171738  PMID: 25258593
Bayesian; nonparametric; dependent; hierarchical models; segmentation
10.  Latent Stick-Breaking Processes 
We develop a model for stochastic processes with random marginal distributions. Our model relies on a stick-breaking construction for the marginal distribution of the process, and introduces dependence across locations by using a latent Gaussian copula model as the mechanism for selecting the atoms. The resulting latent stick-breaking process (LaSBP) induces a random partition of the index space, with points closer in space having a higher probability of being in the same cluster. We develop an efficient and straightforward Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) algorithm for computation and discuss applications in financial econometrics and ecology. This article has supplementary material online.
PMCID: PMC3614377  PMID: 23559690
Nonparametric Bayes; Option pricing; Point-referenced counts; Random probability measure; Random stochastic processes
11.  Posterior consistency in conditional distribution estimation 
A wide variety of priors have been proposed for nonparametric Bayesian estimation of conditional distributions, and there is a clear need for theorems providing conditions on the prior for large support, as well as posterior consistency. Estimation of an uncountable collection of conditional distributions across different regions of the predictor space is a challenging problem, which differs in some important ways from density and mean regression estimation problems. Defining various topologies on the space of conditional distributions, we provide sufficient conditions for posterior consistency focusing on a broad class of priors formulated as predictor-dependent mixtures of Gaussian kernels. This theory is illustrated by showing that the conditions are satisfied for a class of generalized stick-breaking process mixtures in which the stick-breaking lengths are monotone, differentiable functions of a continuous stochastic process. We also provide a set of sufficient conditions for the case where stick-breaking lengths are predictor independent, such as those arising from a fixed Dirichlet process prior.
PMCID: PMC4107341  PMID: 25067858
Asymptotics; Bayesian nonparametrics; Density regression; Dependent Dirichlet process; Large support; Probit stick-breaking process
12.  Generalized Dynamic Factor Models for Mixed-Measurement Time Series 
In this article, we propose generalized Bayesian dynamic factor models for jointly modeling mixed-measurement time series. The framework allows mixed-scale measurements associated with each time series, with different measurements having different distributions in the exponential family conditionally on time-varying latent factor(s). Efficient Bayesian computational algorithms are developed for posterior inference on both the latent factors and model parameters, based on a Metropolis Hastings algorithm with adaptive proposals. The algorithm relies on a Greedy Density Kernel Approximation (GDKA) and parameter expansion with latent factor normalization. We tested the framework and algorithms in simulated studies and applied them to the analysis of intertwined credit and recovery risk for Moody’s rated firms from 1982–2008, illustrating the importance of jointly modeling mixed-measurement time series. The article has supplemental materials available online.
PMCID: PMC4004613  PMID: 24791133
Adaptive Metropolis Hastings; Bayesian; Dynamic Factor Model; Exponential Family; Mixed-Measurement Time Series
13.  Bayesian Variable Selection via Particle Stochastic Search 
Statistics & probability letters  2011;81(2):283-291.
We focus on Bayesian variable selection in regression models. One challenge is to search the huge model space adequately, while identifying high posterior probability regions. In the past decades, the main focus has been on the use of Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) algorithms for these purposes. In this article, we propose a new computational approach based on sequential Monte Carlo (SMC), which we refer to as particle stochastic search (PSS). We illustrate PSS through applications to linear regression and probit models.
PMCID: PMC3029030  PMID: 21278860
Bayes factor; Marginal inclusion probability; Model averaging; Model uncertainty; Sequential Monte Carlo; Stochastic search variable selection; Subset selection
14.  Nonparametric Bayesian density estimation on manifolds with applications to planar shapes 
Biometrika  2010;97(4):851-865.
Statistical analysis on landmark-based shape spaces has diverse applications in morphometrics, medical diagnostics, machine vision and other areas. These shape spaces are non-Euclidean quotient manifolds. To conduct nonparametric inferences, one may define notions of centre and spread on this manifold and work with their estimates. However, it is useful to consider full likelihood-based methods, which allow nonparametric estimation of the probability density. This article proposes a broad class of mixture models constructed using suitable kernels on a general compact metric space and then on the planar shape space in particular. Following a Bayesian approach with a nonparametric prior on the mixing distribution, conditions are obtained under which the Kullback–Leibler property holds, implying large support and weak posterior consistency. Gibbs sampling methods are developed for posterior computation, and the methods are applied to problems in density estimation and classification with shape-based predictors. Simulation studies show improved estimation performance relative to existing approaches.
PMCID: PMC3371720  PMID: 22822255
Dirichlet process mixture; Discriminant analysis; Kullback–Leibler property; Metric space; Nonparametric Bayes; Planar shape space; Posterior consistency; Riemannian manifold
15.  Bayesian nonparametric regression with varying residual density 
We consider the problem of robust Bayesian inference on the mean regression function allowing the residual density to change flexibly with predictors. The proposed class of models is based on a Gaussian process prior for the mean regression function and mixtures of Gaussians for the collection of residual densities indexed by predictors. Initially considering the homoscedastic case, we propose priors for the residual density based on probit stick-breaking (PSB) scale mixtures and symmetrized PSB (sPSB) location-scale mixtures. Both priors restrict the residual density to be symmetric about zero, with the sPSB prior more flexible in allowing multimodal densities. We provide sufficient conditions to ensure strong posterior consistency in estimating the regression function under the sPSB prior, generalizing existing theory focused on parametric residual distributions. The PSB and sPSB priors are generalized to allow residual densities to change nonparametrically with predictors through incorporating Gaussian processes in the stick-breaking components. This leads to a robust Bayesian regression procedure that automatically down-weights outliers and influential observations in a locally-adaptive manner. Posterior computation relies on an efficient data augmentation exact block Gibbs sampler. The methods are illustrated using simulated and real data applications.
PMCID: PMC3898864  PMID: 24465053
Data augmentation; exact block Gibbs sampler; Gaussian process; nonparametric regression; outliers; symmetrized probit stick breaking process
16.  Bayesian modeling of temporal dependence in large sparse contingency tables 
In many applications, it is of interest to study trends over time in relationships among categorical variables, such as age group, ethnicity, religious affiliation, political party and preference for particular policies. At each time point, a sample of individuals provide responses to a set of questions, with different individuals sampled at each time. In such settings, there tends to be abundant missing data and the variables being measured may change over time. At each time point, one obtains a large sparse contingency table, with the number of cells often much larger than the number of individuals being surveyed. To borrow information across time in modeling large sparse contingency tables, we propose a Bayesian autoregressive tensor factorization approach. The proposed model relies on a probabilistic Parafac factorization of the joint pmf characterizing the categorical data distribution at each time point, with autocorrelation included across times. Efficient computational methods are developed relying on MCMC. The methods are evaluated through simulation examples and applied to social survey data.
PMCID: PMC3904485  PMID: 24482548
Dynamic model; Multivariate categorical data; Nonparametric Bayes; Panel data; Parafac; Probabilistic tensor factorization; Stick-breaking
Statistica Sinica  2010;20(4):1395-1422.
Mixtures provide a useful approach for relaxing parametric assumptions. Discrete mixture models induce clusters, typically with the same cluster allocation for each parameter in multivariate cases. As a more flexible approach that facilitates sparse nonparametric modeling of multivariate random effects distributions, this article proposes a kernel partition process (KPP) in which the cluster allocation varies for different parameters. The KPP is shown to be the driving measure for a multivariate ordered Chinese restaurant process that induces a highly-flexible dependence structure in local clustering. This structure allows the relative locations of the random effects to inform the clustering process, with spatially-proximal random effects likely to be assigned the same cluster index. An exact block Gibbs sampler is developed for posterior computation, avoiding truncation of the infinite measure. The methods are applied to hormone curve data, and a dependent KPP is proposed for classification from functional predictors.
PMCID: PMC3903418  PMID: 24478563
Chinese restaurant process; Dirichlet process; discriminant analysis; local clustering; longitudinal data; nonparametric Bayes; random effects
Statistica Sinica  2013;23(1):119-143.
We propose a generalized double Pareto prior for Bayesian shrinkage estimation and inferences in linear models. The prior can be obtained via a scale mixture of Laplace or normal distributions, forming a bridge between the Laplace and Normal-Jeffreys’ priors. While it has a spike at zero like the Laplace density, it also has a Student’s t-like tail behavior. Bayesian computation is straightforward via a simple Gibbs sampling algorithm. We investigate the properties of the maximum a posteriori estimator, as sparse estimation plays an important role in many problems, reveal connections with some well-established regularization procedures, and show some asymptotic results. The performance of the prior is tested through simulations and an application.
PMCID: PMC3903426  PMID: 24478567
Heavy tails; high-dimensional data; LASSO; maximum a posteriori estimation; relevance vector machine; robust prior; shrinkage estimation
19.  Adverse Subpopulation Regression for Multivariate Outcomes with High-Dimensional Predictors 
Statistics in medicine  2012;31(29):4102-4113.
Biomedical studies have a common interest in assessing relationships between multiple related health outcomes and high-dimensional predictors. For example, in reproductive epidemiology, one may collect pregnancy outcomes such as length of gestation and birth weight and predictors such as single nucleotide polymorphisms in multiple candidate genes and environmental exposures. In such settings, there is a need for simple yet flexible methods for selecting true predictors of adverse health responses from a high-dimensional set of candidate predictors. To address this problem, one may either consider linear regression models for the continuous outcomes or convert these outcomes into binary indicators of adverse responses using pre-defined cutoffs. The former strategy has the disadvantage of often leading to a poorly fitting model that does not predict risk well, while the latter approach can be very sensitive to the cutoff choice. As a simple yet flexible alternative, we propose a method for adverse subpopulation regression (ASPR), which relies on a two component latent class model, with the dominant component corresponding to (presumed) healthy individuals and the risk of falling in the minority component characterized via a logistic regression. The logistic regression model is designed to accommodate high-dimensional predictors, as occur in studies with a large number of gene by environment interactions, through use of a flexible nonparametric multiple shrinkage approach. The Gibbs sampler is developed for posterior computation. The methods are evaluated using simulation studies and applied to a genetic epidemiology study of pregnancy outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3712761  PMID: 22825854
Bayesian; Genetic epidemiology; Latent class model; Logistic regression; Mixture model; Model averaging; Nonparametric; Variable selection
20.  Semiparametric Bayes hierarchical models with mean and variance constraints 
In parametric hierarchical models, it is standard practice to place mean and variance constraints on the latent variable distributions for the sake of identifiability and interpretability. Because incorporation of such constraints is challenging in semiparametric models that allow latent variable distributions to be unknown, previous methods either constrain the median or avoid constraints. In this article, we propose a centered stick-breaking process (CSBP), which induces mean and variance constraints on an unknown distribution in a hierarchical model. This is accomplished by viewing an unconstrained stick-breaking process as a parameter-expanded version of a CSBP. An efficient blocked Gibbs sampler is developed for approximate posterior computation. The methods are illustrated through a simulated example and an epidemiologic application.
PMCID: PMC3869464  PMID: 24363478
Dirichlet process; Latent variables; Moment constraints; Nonparametric Bayes; Parameter expansion; Random effects
21.  Bayesian Local Contamination Models for Multivariate Outliers 
In studies where data are generated from multiple locations or sources it is common for there to exist observations that are quite unlike the majority. Motivated by the application of establishing a reference value in an inter-laboratory setting when outlying labs are present, we propose a local contamination model that is able to accommodate unusual multivariate realizations in a flexible way. The proposed method models the process level of a hierarchical model using a mixture with a parametric component and a possibly nonparametric contamination. Much of the flexibility in the methodology is achieved by allowing varying random subsets of the elements in the lab-specific mean vectors to be allocated to the contamination component. Computational methods are developed and the methodology is compared to three other possible approaches using a simulation study. We apply the proposed method to a NIST/NOAA sponsored inter-laboratory study which motivated the methodological development.
PMCID: PMC3869467  PMID: 24363465
Bayesian robustness; Component-wise classification; Inter-laboratory studies; Mixtures
22.  Nonparametric Bayesian models through probit stick-breaking processes 
Bayesian analysis (Online)  2011;6(1):10.1214/11-BA605.
We describe a novel class of Bayesian nonparametric priors based on stick-breaking constructions where the weights of the process are constructed as probit transformations of normal random variables. We show that these priors are extremely flexible, allowing us to generate a great variety of models while preserving computational simplicity. Particular emphasis is placed on the construction of rich temporal and spatial processes, which are applied to two problems in finance and ecology.
PMCID: PMC3865248  PMID: 24358072
Nonparametric Bayes; Random Probability Measure; Stick-breaking Prior; Mixture Model; Data Augmentation; Spatial Data; Time Series
23.  Bayesian Latent Factor Regression for Functional and Longitudinal Data 
Biometrics  2012;68(4):1064-1073.
In studies involving functional data, it is commonly of interest to model the impact of predictors on the distribution of the curves, allowing flexible e ects on not only the mean curve but also the distribution about the mean. Characterizing the curve for each subject as a linear combination of a high-dimensional set of potential basis functions, we place a sparse latent factor regression model on the basis coe cients. We induce basis selection by choosing a shrinkage prior that allows many of the loadings to be close to zero. The number of latent factors is treated as unknown through a highly-e cient, adaptive-blocked Gibbs sampler. Predictors are included on the latent variables level, while allowing different predictors to impact different latent factors. This model induces a framework for functional response regression in which the distribution of the curves is allowed to change flexibly with predictors. The performance is assessed through simulation studies and the methods are applied to data on blood pressure trajectories during pregnancy.
PMCID: PMC3530663  PMID: 23005895
Factor analysis; Functional principal components analysis; Latent trajectory models; Random effects; Sparse data
24.  Fast Bayesian Inference in Dirichlet Process Mixture Models 
There has been increasing interest in applying Bayesian nonparametric methods in large samples and high dimensions. As Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) algorithms are often infeasible, there is a pressing need for much faster algorithms. This article proposes a fast approach for inference in Dirichlet process mixture (DPM) models. Viewing the partitioning of subjects into clusters as a model selection problem, we propose a sequential greedy search algorithm for selecting the partition. Then, when conjugate priors are chosen, the resulting posterior conditionally on the selected partition is available in closed form. This approach allows testing of parametric models versus nonparametric alternatives based on Bayes factors. We evaluate the approach using simulation studies and compare it with four other fast nonparametric methods in the literature. We apply the proposed approach to three datasets including one from a large epidemiologic study. Matlab codes for the simulation and data analyses using the proposed approach are available online in the supplemental materials.
PMCID: PMC3812957  PMID: 24187479
Clustering; Density estimation; Efficient computation; Large samples; Nonparametric Bayes; Pólya urn scheme; Sequential analysis
25.  Semiparametric Bayesian local functional models for diffusion tensor tract statistics☆ 
NeuroImage  2012;63(1):460-474.
We propose a semiparametric Bayesian local functional model (BFM) for the analysis of multiple diffusion properties (e.g., fractional anisotropy) along white matter fiber bundles with a set of covariates of interest, such as age and gender. BFM accounts for heterogeneity in the shape of the fiber bundle diffusion properties among subjects, while allowing the impact of the covariates to vary across subjects. A nonparametric Bayesian LPP2 prior facilitates global and local borrowings of information among subjects, while an infinite factor model flexibly represents low-dimensional structure. Local hypothesis testing and credible bands are developed to identify fiber segments, along which multiple diffusion properties are significantly associated with covariates of interest, while controlling for multiple comparisons. Moreover, BFM naturally group subjects into more homogeneous clusters. Posterior computation proceeds via an efficient Markov chain Monte Carlo algorithm. A simulation study is performed to evaluate the finite sample performance of BFM. We apply BFM to investigate the development of white matter diffusivities along the splenium of the corpus callosum tract and the right internal capsule tract in a clinical study of neurodevelopment in new born infants.
PMCID: PMC3677778  PMID: 22732565
Confidence band; Diffusion tensor imaging; Fiber bundle; Infinite factor model; Local hypothesis; LPP2; Markov chain Monte Carlo

Results 1-25 (51)