Bayesian Kernel Mixtures for Counts.
Although Bayesian nonparametric mixture models for continuous data are well developed, there is a limited literature on related approaches for count data. A common strategy is to use a mixture of Poissons, which unfortunately is quite restrictive in not accounting for distributions having variance less than the mean. Other approaches include mixing multinomials, which requires finite support, and using a Dirichlet process prior with a Poisson base measure, which does not allow smooth deviations from the Poisson. As a broad class of alternative models, we propose to use nonparametric mixtures of rounded continuous kernels. An efficient Gibbs sampler is developed for posterior computation, and a simulation study is performed to assess performance. Focusing on the rounded Gaussian case, we generalize the modeling framework to account for multivariate count data, joint modeling with continuous and categorical variables, and other complications. The methods are illustrated through applications to a developmental toxicity study and marketing data. This article has supplementary material online.
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