Adaptive Markov chain Monte Carlo for Bayesian variable selection
We describe adaptive Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) methods for sampling posterior distributions arising from Bayesian variable selection problems. Point-mass mixture priors are commonly used in Bayesian variable selection problems in regression. However, for generalized linear and nonlinear models where the conditional densities cannot be obtained directly, the resulting mixture posterior may be difficult to sample using standard MCMC methods due to multimodality. We introduce an adaptive MCMC scheme that automatically tunes the parameters of a family of mixture proposal distributions during simulation. The resulting chain adapts to sample efficiently from multimodal target distributions. For variable selection problems point-mass components are included in the mixture, and the associated weights adapt to approximate marginal posterior variable inclusion probabilities, while the remaining components approximate the posterior over nonzero values. The resulting sampler transitions efficiently between models, performing parameter estimation and variable selection simultaneously. Ergodicity and convergence are guaranteed by limiting the adaptation based on recent theoretical results. The algorithm is demonstrated on a logistic regression model, a sparse kernel regression, and a random field model from statistical biophysics; in each case the adaptive algorithm dramatically outperforms traditional MH algorithms. Supplementary materials for this article are available online. © 2013 American Statistical Association, Institute of Mathematical Statistics, and Interface Foundation of North America.
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