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UCSC-SOE-16-06: Bayesian Nonparametric Modeling for Integro-Difference Equations

Robert Richardson, Athanasios Kottas and Bruno Sanso
03/01/2016 09:58 AM
Applied Mathematics & Statistics
Integro-Difference Equations (IDEs) provide a flexible framework for dynamic modeling of spatio-temporal data. The choice of kernel in an IDE model relates directly to the underlying physical process modeled, and it can affect model fit and predictive accuracy. We introduce Bayesian nonparametric methods to the IDE literature as a means to allow flexibility in modeling the kernel. We propose a mixture of normal distributions for the IDE kernel, built from a spatial Dirichlet process for the mixing distribution, which can model kernels with shapes that change with location. This allows the IDE model to capture non-stationarity with respect to location and to reflect a changing physical process across the domain. We address computational concerns for inference that leverage the use of Hermite polynomials as a basis for the representation of the process and the IDE kernel, and incorporate Hamiltonian Markov chain Monte Carlo steps in the posterior simulation method. An example with synthetic data demonstrates that the model can successfully capture location-dependent dynamics. Moreover, using a data set of ozone pressure, we show that the spatial Dirichlet process mixture model outperforms several alternative models for the IDE kernel, including the state of the art in the IDE literature, that is, a Gaussian kernel with location-dependent parameters.

Paper revised on November 20, 2016.

UCSC-SOE-16-06