AdvancedHMC.jl: A robust, modular and efficient implementation of advanced HMC algorithms

Oct 16, 2019 Blind Submission readers: everyone
  • Keywords: HMC, NUTS, Stan
  • Abstract: Stan's Hamilton Monte Carlo (HMC) has demonstrated remarkable sampling robustness and efficiency in a wide range of Bayesian inference problems through carefully crafted adaption schemes to the celebrated No-U-Turn sampler (NUTS) algorithm. It is challenging to implement these adaption schemes robustly in practice, hindering wider adoption amongst practitioners who are not directly working with the Stan modelling language. AdvancedHMC.jl (AHMC) contributes a modular, well-tested, standalone implementation of NUTS that recovers and extends Stan's NUTS algorithm. AHMC is written in Julia, a modern high-level language for scientific computing, benefiting from optional hardware acceleration and interoperability with a wealth of existing software written in both Julia and other languages, such as Python. Efficacy is demonstrated empirically by comparison with Stan through a third-party Markov chain Monte Carlo benchmarking suite.
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