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Abstract

This paper presents the Matlab package DeCo (Density Combination) which is based on the paper by Billio et al. (2013) where a constructive Bayesian approach is presented for combining predictive densities originating from different models or other sources of information. The combination weights are time-varying and may depend on past predictive forecasting performances and other learning mechanisms. The core algorithm is the function DeCo which applies banks of parallel Sequential Monte Carlo algorithms to filter the time-varying combination weights. The DeCo procedure has been implemented both for standard CPU computing and for Graphical Process Unit (GPU) parallel computing. For the GPU implementation we use the Matlab parallel computing toolbox and show how to use General Purposes GPU computing almost effortless. This GPU implementation comes with a speed up of the execution time up to seventy times compared to a standard CPU Matlab implementation on a multicore CPU. We show the use of the package and the computational gain of the GPU version, through some simulation experiments and empirical applications.

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Monte Carlo methods are revolutionizing the on-line analysis of data in fields as diverse as financial modeling, target tracking and computer vision. These methods, appearing under the names of bootstrap filters, condensation, optimal Monte Carlo filters, particle filters and survival of the fittest, have made it possible to solve numerically many complex, non-standard problems that were previously intractable. This book presents the first comprehensive treatment of these techniques, including convergence results and applications to tracking, guidance, automated target recognition, aircraft navigation, robot navigation, econometrics, financial modeling, neural networks, optimal control, optimal filtering, communications, reinforcement learning, signal enhancement, model averaging and selection, computer vision, semiconductor design, population biology, dynamic Bayesian networks, and time series analysis. This will be of great value to students, researchers and practitioners, who have some basic knowledge of probability. Arnaud Doucet received the Ph. D. degree from the University of Paris-XI Orsay in 1997. From 1998 to 2000, he conducted research at the Signal Processing Group of Cambridge University, UK. He is currently an assistant professor at the Department of Electrical Engineering of Melbourne University, Australia. His research interests include Bayesian statistics, dynamic models and Monte Carlo methods. Nando de Freitas obtained a Ph.D. degree in information engineering from Cambridge University in 1999. He is presently a research associate with the artificial intelligence group of the University of California at Berkeley. His main research interests are in Bayesian statistics and the application of on-line and batch Monte Carlo methods to machine learning. Neil Gordon obtained a Ph.D. in Statistics from Imperial College, University of London in 1993. He is with the Pattern and Information Processing group at the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency in the United Kingdom. His research interests are in time series, statistical data analysis, and pattern recognition with a particular emphasis on target tracking and missile guidance.
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Combined forecasts from a linear and a nonlinear model are investigated for time series with possibly nonlinear characteristics. The forecasts are combined by a constant coefficient regression method as well as a time varying method. The time varying method allows for a locally (non)linear model. The methods are applied to data from two kinds of disciplines: the Canadian lynx and sunspot series from the natural sciences, and Nelson-Plosser's U.S. series from economics. It is shown that the combined forecasts perform well, especially with time varying coefficients. This result holds for out of sample performance for the sunspot and Canadian lynx number series, but it does not uniformly hold for economic time series.
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This paper develops methods for automatic selection of variables in forecasting Bayesian vector autoregressions (VARs) using the Gibbs sampler. In particular, I provide computationally efficient algorithms for stochastic variable selection in generic (linear and nonlinear) VARs. The performance of the proposed variable selection method is assessed in a small Monte Carlo experiment, and in forecasting 4 macroeconomic series of the UK using time-varying parameters vector autoregressions (TVP-VARs). Restricted models consistently improve upon their unrestricted counterparts in forecasting, showing the merits of variable selection in selecting parsimonious models.
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We study the stability of the optimal filter w.r.t. its initial condition and w.r.t. the model for the hidden state and the observations in a general hidden Markov model, using the Hilbert projective metric. These stability results are then used to prove, under some mixing assumption, the uniform convergence to the optimal filter of several particle filters, such as the interacting particle filter and some other original particle filters.
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A prediction model is any statement of a probability distribution for an outcome not yet observed. This study considers the properties of weighted linear combinations of n prediction models, or linear pools, evaluated using the conventional log predictive scoring rule. The log score is a concave function of the weights and, in general, an optimal linear combination will include several models with positive weights despite the fact that exactly one model has limiting posterior probability one. The paper derives several interesting formal results: for example, a prediction model with positive weight in a pool may have zero weight if some other models are deleted from that pool. The results are illustrated using S&P 500 returns with prediction models from the ARCH, stochastic volatility and Markov mixture families. In this example models that are clearly inferior by the usual scoring criteria have positive weights in optimal linear pools, and these pools substantially outperform their best components.
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The nature of computing is changing and it poses both challenges and opportunities for economists. Instead of increasing clock speed, future microprocessors will have “multi-cores” with separate execution units. “Threads” or other multi-processing techniques that are rarely used today are required to take full advantage of them. Beyond one machine, it has become easy to harness multiple computers to work in clusters. Besides dedicated clusters, they can be made up of unused lab computers or even your colleagues’ machines. Finally, grids of computers spanning the Internet are now becoming a reality.
Article
This paper shows how a high-level matrix programming language may be used to perform Monte Carlo simulation, bootstrapping, estimation by maximum likelihood and GMM, and kernel regression in parallel on symmetric multiprocessor computers or clusters of workstations. The implementation of parallelization is done in a way such that an investigator may use the programs without any knowledge of parallel programming. A bootable CD that allows rapid creation of a cluster for parallel computing is introduced. Examples show that parallelization can lead to important reductions in computational time. Detailed discussion of how the Monte Carlo problem was parallelized is included as an example for learning to write parallel programs for Octave. Copyright Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005
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The computational difficulty of econometric problems has increased dramatically in recent years as econometricians examine more complicated models and utilize more sophisticated estimation techniques. Many problems in econometrics are "embarrassingly parallel" and can take advantage of parallel computing to reduce the wall clock time it takes to solve a problem. In this paper I demonstrate a method that can be used to solve a maximum likelihood problem using the MPI message passing library. The econometric problem is a simple multinomial logit model that does not require parallel computing but illustrates many of the problems one would confront when estimating more complicated models. Copyright 2002 by Kluwer Academic Publishers
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This toolbox of MATLAB econometrics functions includes a collection of regression functions for least-squares, simultaneous systems (2SLS, 3SLS, SUR), limited dependent variable (logit, probit, tobit), time-series (VAR, BVAR, ECM) estimation and forecasting functions, ridge, Theil-Goldberger, switching regimes, robust regression, regression diagnostics functions, cointegration testing, statistical distributions (CDF, PDF and random deviate generation), Bayesian Gibbs sampling estimation and MCMC convergence diagnostics, maximum likelihood and Bayesian spatial econometrics functions. Demonstrations are provided for all functions and a 200 page manual is available in postscript and PDF form with examples and data sets (also available online). All functions provide printed and graphical output similar to that found in RATS, SAS or TSP. The toolbox, manual and examples are free; no attribution or blame need be assigned to the authors. User contributed functions are welcome and many such functions are included in the Econometrics Toolbox, as well as other MATLAB functions that have been placed in the public domain.
Article
Using Bayesian Model Averaging, we examine whether inflation's effects on economic growth are robust to model uncertainty across numerous specifications. Cross-sectional data provide little evidence of a robust inflation-growth relationship, even after allowing for non-linear effects. Panel data with fixed effects suggest inflation is one of the more robust variables affecting growth, and non-linear results suggest that high inflation observations drive the results. However, this robustness is lost when estimation is carried out with instrumental variables.
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The stability properties of a class of interacting measure valued processes arising in nonlinear filtering and genetic algorithm theory is discussed.
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this article, we use the approach based on the Hilbert metric to study the asymptotic behavior of the optimal filter, and to prove as in [9] the uniform convergence of several particle filters, such as the interacting particle filter (IPF) and some other original particle filters. A common assumption to prove stability results, see e.g. in [9, Theorem 2.4], is that the Markov transition kernels are mixing, which implies that the hidden state sequence is ergodic. Our results are obtained under the assumption that the nonnegative kernels describing the evolution of the unnormalized optimal filter, and incorporating simultaneously the Markov transition kernels and the likelihood functions, are mixing. This is a weaker assumption, see Proposition 3.9, which allows to consider some cases, similar to the case studied in [6], where the hidden state sequence is not ergodic, see Example 3.10. This point of view is further developped by Le Gland and Oudjane in [22] and by Oudjane and Rubenthaler in [28]. Our main contribution is to study also the stability of the optimal filter w.r.t. the model, when the local error is propagated by mixing kernels, and can be estimated in the Hilbert metric, in the total variation norm, or in a weaker distance suitable for random probability distributions. AMS 1991 subject classifications. Primary 93E11, 93E15, 62E25; secondary 60B10, 60J27, 62G07, 62G09, 62L10
Accelerated Massive Parallelism with Microsoft Visual C++
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Gregory K, Miller A (2012). Accelerated Massive Parallelism with Microsoft Visual C++. Microsoft Press, USA.
Combined Parameter and State Estimation in Simulation Based Filtering
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Liu JS, West M (2001). "Combined Parameter and State Estimation in Simulation Based Filtering." In A Doucet, N de Freitas, N Gordon (eds.), Sequential Monte Carlo Methods in Practice. Springer-Verlag.