STA 290 Seminar: Steve Scott (Google)

Statistics Colloquium: STA 290

Thursday, October 10th, 2013 at 4:10pm, Multi-Purpose Room, Student Community Center (note location change)

Refreshments at 3:30pm in MSB 4110 (Statistics Lounge)

Speaker: Steve Scott, Google

Title: "Bayes and Big Data"

Abstract: A useful definition of "big data" is data that is too big to fit on a single machine, either because of processor, memory, or disk bottlenecks. Graphics processing units can alleviate the processor bottleneck, but memory or disk bottlenecks can only be alleviated by splitting "big data" across multiple machines. Communication between large numbers of machines is expensive (regardless of the amount of data being communicated), so there is a need for algorithms that perform distributed approximate Bayesian analyses with minimal communication. Consensus Monte Carlo operates by running a separate Monte Carlo algorithm on each machine, and then averaging the individual Monte Carlo draws. Depending on the model, the resulting draws can be nearly indistinguishable from the draws that would have been obtained by running a single machine algorithm for a very long time. Examples of consensus Monte Carlo will be shown for simple models where single-machine solutions are available, for large single-layer hierarchical models, and for Bayesian additive regression trees (BART).


Note: this seminar (as are all STA 290 seminars) is open to the public.