.. _chap_modelchecking:
******************************
Model checking and diagnostics
******************************
.. _convergence:
Convergence Diagnostics
=======================
Valid inferences from sequences of MCMC samples are based on the assumption
that the samples are derived from the true posterior distribution of interest.
Theory guarantees this condition as the number of iterations approaches
infinity. It is important, therefore, to determine the minimum number of
samples required to ensure a reasonable approximation to the target posterior
density. Unfortunately, no universal threshold exists across all problems, so
convergence must be assessed independently each time MCMC estimation is
performed. The procedures for verifying convergence are collectively known as
convergence diagnostics.
One approach to analyzing convergence is analytical, whereby the variance of
the sample at different sections of the chain are compared to that of the
limiting distribution. These methods use distance metrics to analyze
convergence, or place theoretical bounds on the sample variance, and though
they are promising, they are generally difficult to use and are not prominent
in the MCMC literature. More common is a statistical approach to assessing
convergence. With this approach, rather than considering the properties of the
theoretical target distribution, only the statistical properties of the
observed chain are analyzed. Reliance on the sample alone restricts such
convergence criteria to heuristics. As a result, convergence cannot be guaranteed.
Although evidence for lack of convergence using statistical convergence
diagnostics will correctly imply lack of convergence in the chain, the absence
of such evidence will not *guarantee* convergence in the chain. Nevertheless,
negative results for one or more criteria may provide some measure of
assurance to users that their sample will provide valid inferences.
For most simple models, convergence will occur quickly, sometimes within a the
first several hundred iterations, after which all remaining samples of the
chain may be used to calculate posterior quantities. For more complex
models, convergence requires a significantly longer burn-in period; sometimes
orders of magnitude more samples are needed. Frequently, lack of convergence
will be caused by poor mixing (Figure 7.1). Recall that *mixing* refers
to the degree to which the Markov chain explores the support of the posterior
distribution. Poor mixing may stem from inappropriate proposals (if one is
using the Metropolis-Hastings sampler) or from attempting to estimate models
with highly correlated variables.
.. _mix:
.. figure:: _images/poormixing.*
:alt: Poor mixing figure
:scale: 70
:align: center
An example of a poorly-mixing sample in two dimensions. Notice that the
chain is trapped in a region of low probability relative to the mean
(dot) and variance (oval) of the true posterior quantity.
Informal Methods
----------------
The most straightforward approach for assessing convergence is based on simply
plotting and inspecting traces and histograms of the observed MCMC sample. If
the trace of values for each of the stochastics exhibits asymptotic behavior
[#]_ over the last :math:`m` iterations, this may be satisfactory evidence for
convergence. A similar approach involves plotting a histogram for every set of
:math:`k` iterations (perhaps 50-100) beyond some burn in threshold :math:`n`;
if the histograms are not visibly different among the sample intervals, this is
reasonable evidence for convergence. Note that such diagnostics should be
carried out for each stochastic estimated by the MCMC algorithm, because
convergent behavior by one variable does not imply evidence for convergence for
other variables in the analysis. An extension of this approach can be taken
when multiple parallel chains are run, rather than just a single, long chain.
In this case, the final values of :math:`c` chains run for :math:`n` iterations
are plotted in a histogram; just as above, this is repeated every :math:`k`
iterations thereafter, and the histograms of the endpoints are plotted again
and compared to the previous histogram. This is repeated until consecutive
histograms are indistinguishable.
Another *ad hoc* method for detecting lack of convergence is to examine the
traces of several MCMC chains initialized with different starting values.
Overlaying these traces on the same set of axes should (if convergence has
occurred) show each chain tending toward the same equilibrium value, with
approximately the same variance. Recall that the tendency for some Markov
chains to converge to the true (unknown) value from diverse initial values is
called *ergodicity*. This property is guaranteed by the reversible chains
constructed using MCMC, and should be observable using this technique. Again,
however, this approach is only a heuristic method, and cannot always detect
lack of convergence, even though chains may appear ergodic.
.. _metas:
.. figure:: _images/metastable.*
:align: center
:scale: 70
An example of metastability in a two-dimensional parameter space. The
chain appears to be stable in one region of the parameter space for an
extended period, then unpredictably jumps to another region of the
space.
A principal reason that evidence from informal techniques cannot guarantee
convergence is a phenomenon called metastability. Chains may appear to have
converged to the true equilibrium value, displaying excellent qualities by any
of the methods described above. However, after some period of stability around
this value, the chain may suddenly move to another region of the parameter
space (Figure 7.2). This period of metastability can sometimes be very
long, and therefore escape detection by these convergence diagnostics.
Unfortunately, there is no statistical technique available for detecting
metastability.
Formal Methods
--------------
Along with the *ad hoc* techniques described above, a number of more formal
methods exist which are prevalent in the literature. These are considered more
formal because they are based on existing statistical methods, such as time
series analysis.
PyMC currently includes three formal convergence diagnostic methods. The first,
proposed by [Geweke1992]_, is a time-series approach that compares the mean
and variance of segments from the beginning and end of a single chain.
.. math::
z = \frac{\bar{\theta}_a - \bar{\theta}_b}{\sqrt{Var(\theta_a) + Var(\theta_b)}}
where :math:`a` is the early interval and :math:`b` the late interval. If the
z-scores (theoretically distributed as standard normal variates) of these two
segments are similar, it can provide evidence for convergence. PyMC calculates
z-scores of the difference between various initial segments along the chain,
and the last 50% of the remaining chain. If the chain has converged, the
majority of points should fall within 2 standard deviations of zero.
Diagnostic z-scores can be obtained by calling the ``geweke`` function. It
accepts either (1) a single trace, (2) a Node or Stochastic object, or (4) an
entire Model object::
geweke(x, first=0.1, last=0.5, intervals=20)
The arguments expected are the following:
* ``pymc_object``: The object that is or contains the output trace(s).
* ``first`` (optional): First portion of chain to be used in Geweke diagnostic.
Defaults to 0.1 (*i.e.* first 10% of chain).
* ``last`` (optional): Last portion of chain to be used in Geweke diagnostic.
Defaults to 0.5 (*i.e.* last 50% of chain).
* ``intervals`` (optional): Number of sub-chains to analyze. Defaults to 20.
The resulting scores are best interpreted graphically, using the
``geweke_plot`` function. This displays the scores in series, in relation to
the 2 standard deviation boundaries around zero. Hence, it is easy to see
departures from the standard normal assumption.
.. _geweke:
.. figure:: _images/geweke.*
:align: center
:alt: Geweke figure.
:width: 800
Sample plot of Geweke z-scores for a variable using ``geweke_plot``.
The occurrence of the scores well within 2 standard deviations of zero
gives not indicate of lack of convergence (top), while deviations exceeding
2 standard deviations suggest that additional samples are requred to
achieve convergence (bottom).
``geweke_plot`` takes either a single set of scores, or a dictionary of scores
(output by ``geweke`` when an entire Sampler is passed) as its argument::
def geweke_plot(scores, name='geweke', format='png', suffix='-diagnostic',
path='./', fontmap = {1:10, 2:8, 3:6, 4:5, 5:4}, verbose=1)
The arguments are defined as:
* ``scores``: The object that contains the Geweke scores. Can be a list (one
set) or a dictionary (multiple sets).
* ``name`` (optional): Name used for output files. For multiple scores, the
dictionary keys are used as names.
* ``format`` (optional): Graphic output file format (defaults to *png*).
* ``suffix`` (optional): Suffix to filename (defaults to *-diagnostic*)
* ``path`` (optional): The path for output graphics (defaults to working
directory).
* ``fontmap`` (optional): Dictionary containing the font map for the labels of
the graphic.
* ``verbose`` (optional): Verbosity level for output (defaults to 1).
To illustrate, consider the sample model ``gelman_bioassay`` that is used to
instantiate a MCMC sampler. The sampler is then run for a given number of
iterations::
>>> from pymc.examples import gelman_bioassay
>>> S = pymc.MCMC(gelman_bioassay)
>>> S.sample(10000, burn=5000)
It is easiest simply to pass the entire sampler ``S`` the ``geweke`` function::
>>> scores = pymc.geweke(S, intervals=20)
>>> pymc.Matplot.geweke_plot(scores)
Alternatively, individual stochastics within ``S`` can be analyzed for
convergence::
>>> trace = S.trace("alpha")[:]
>>> alpha_scores = pymc.geweke(trace, intervals=20)
>>> pymc.Matplot.geweke_plot(alpha_scores, "alpha")
An example of convergence and non-convergence of a chain using `geweke_plot` is
given in Figure 7.3.
The second diagnostic provided by PyMC is the [Raftery1995a]_ procedure. This
approach estimates the number of iterations required to reach convergence,
along with the number of burn-in samples to be discarded and the appropriate
thinning interval. A separate estimate of both quantities can be obtained for
each variable in a given model.
As the criterion for determining convergence, the Raftery and Lewis approach
uses the accuracy of estimation of a user-specified quantile. For example, we
may want to estimate the quantile :math:`q=0.975` to within :math:`r=0.005`
with probability :math:`s=0.95`. In other words,
.. math::
Pr(|\hat{q}-q| \le r) = s
From any sample of :math:`\theta`, one can construct a binary chain:
.. math::
Z^{(j)} = I(\theta^{(j)} \le u_q)
where :math:`u_q` is the quantile value and :math:`I` is the indicator
function. While :math:`\{\theta^{(j)}\}` is a Markov chain, :math:`\{Z^{(j)}\}`
is not necessarily so. In any case, the serial dependency among :math:`Z^{(j)}`
decreases as the thinning interval :math:`k` increases. A value of :math:`k` is
chosen to be the smallest value such that the first order Markov chain is
preferable to the second order Markov chain.
This thinned sample is used to determine number of burn-in samples. This is
done by comparing the remaining samples from burn-in intervals of increasing
length to the limiting distribution of the chain. An appropriate value is one
for which the truncated sample's distribution is within :math:`\epsilon`
(arbitrarily small) of the limiting distribution. See [Raftery1995a]_ or
[Gamerman1997]_ for computational details. Estimates for sample size tend to
be conservative.
This diagnostic is best used on a short pilot run of a particular model, and
the results used to parameterize a subsequent sample that is to be used for
inference. Its calling convention is as follows::
raftery_lewis(x, q, r, s=.95, epsilon=.001, verbose=1)
The arguments are:
* ``pymc_object``: The object that contains the Geweke scores. Can be a list
(one set) or a dictionary (multiple sets).
* ``q``: Desired quantile to be estimated.
* ``r``: Desired accuracy for quantile.
* ``s`` (optional): Probability of attaining the requested accuracy (defaults
to 0.95).
* ``epsilon`` (optional) : Half width of the tolerance interval required for
the q-quantile (defaults to 0.001).
* ``verbose`` (optional) : Verbosity level for output (defaults to 1).
The code for ``raftery_lewis`` is based on the FORTRAN program *gibbsit*
([Raftery1995b]_).
For example, consider again a sampler S run for some model my_model::
>>> S = pymc.MCMC(my_model)
>>> S.sample(10000, burn=5000)
One can pass either the entire sampler S or any stochastic within S to the
`raftery_lewis` function, along with suitable arguments. Here, we have chosen
:math:`q = 0.025` (the lower limit of the equal-tailed 95% interval) and error
:math:`r = 0.01`::
>>> pymc.raftery_lewis(S, q=0.025, r=0.01)
This yields diagnostics as follows for each stochastic of S, as well as a
dictionary containing the diagnostic quantities::
========================
Raftery-Lewis Diagnostic
========================
937 iterations required (assuming independence) to achieve 0.01 accuracy
with 95 percent probability.
Thinning factor of 1 required to produce a first-order Markov chain.
39 iterations to be discarded at the beginning of the simulation (burn-in).
11380 subsequent iterations required.
Thinning factor of 11 required to produce an independence chain.
The third convergence diagnostic provided by PyMC is the Gelman-Rubin statistic
([Gelman1992]_). This diagnostic uses multiple chains to check for lack of
convergence, and is based on the notion that if multiple chains have converged,
by definition they should appear very similar to one another; if not, one or
more of the chains has failed to converge.
The Gelman-Rubin diagnostic uses an analysis of variance approach to assessing
convergence. That is, it calculates both the between-chain variance (B) and
within-chain variance (W), and assesses whether they are different enough to
worry about convergence. Assuming :math:`m` chains, each of length :math:`n`,
quantities are calculated by:
.. math::
B &= \frac{n}{m-1} \sum_{j=1}^m (\bar{\theta}_{.j} - \bar{\theta}_{..})^2 \\
W &= \frac{1}{m} \sum_{j=1}^m \left[ \frac{1}{n-1} \sum_{i=1}^n (\theta_{ij} - \bar{\theta}_{.j})^2 \right]
for each scalar estimand :math:`\theta`. Using these values, an estimate of the
marginal posterior variance of :math:`\theta` can be calculated:
.. math::
\hat{\text{Var}}(\theta | y) = \frac{n-1}{n} W + \frac{1}{n} B
Assuming :math:`\theta` was initialized to arbitrary starting points in each
chain, this quantity will overestimate the true marginal posterior variance. At
the same time, :math:`W` will tend to underestimate the within-chain variance
early in the sampling run. However, in the limit as :math:`n \rightarrow
\infty`, both quantities will converge to the true variance of :math:`\theta`.
In light of this, the Gelman-Rubin statistic monitors convergence using the
ratio:
.. math::
\hat{R} = \sqrt{\frac{\hat{\text{Var}}(\theta | y)}{W}}
This is called the potential scale reduction, since it is an estimate of the
potential reduction in the scale of :math:`\theta` as the number of simulations
tends to infinity. In practice, we look for values of :math:`\hat{R}` close to
one (say, less than 1.1) to be confident that a particular estimand has
converged. In PyMC, the function `gelman_rubin` will calculate :math:`\hat{R}`
for each stochastic node in the passed model::
>>> pymc.gelman_rubin(S)
{'alpha': 1.0036389589627821,
'beta': 1.001503957313336,
'theta': [1.0013923468783055,
1.0274479503713816,
0.95365716267969636,
1.00267321019079]}
For the best results, each chain should be initialized to highly dispersed starting values for each stochastic node.
By default, when calling the ``summary_plot`` function using nodes with multiple chains, the :math:`\hat{R}` values will be plotted alongside the posterior intervals.
.. _summary_plot:
.. figure:: _images/summary.*
:align: center
:width: 800
Summary plot of parameters from `gelman_bioassay` model, showing credible
intervals on the left and the Gelman-Rubin statistic on the right.
Additional convergence diagnostics are available in the `R`_ statistical
package ([R2010]_), via the `CODA`_ module ([Plummer2008]_). PyMC includes a
method ``coda`` for exporting model traces in a format that may be directly
read by ``coda``::
>>> pymc.utils.coda(S)
Generating CODA output
==================================================
Processing deaths
Processing beta
Processing theta
Processing alpha
The lone argument is the PyMC sampler for which output is desired.
Calling ``coda`` yields a file containing raw trace values (suffix ``.out``)
and a file containing indices to the trace values (suffix ``.ind``).
.. _`R`: http://lib.stat.cmu.edu/r/cran/
.. _`CODA`: http://www-fis.iarc.fr/coda/
.. % section convergence_diagnostics (end)
.. _autocorr_section:
Autocorrelation Plots
=====================
Samples from MCMC algorithms are ususally autocorrelated, due partly to the
inherent Markovian dependence structure. The degree of autocorrelation can be
quantified using the autocorrelation function:
.. math::
\rho_k & = \frac{\mbox{Cov}(X_t, X_{t+k})}{\sqrt{\mbox{Var}(X_t)\mbox{Var}(X_{t+k})}} \\
& = \frac{E[(X_t - \theta)(X_{t+k} - \theta)]}{\sqrt{E[(X_t - \theta)^2] E[(X_{t+k} - \theta)^2]}}
PyMC includes a function for plotting the autocorrelation function for each
stochastics in the sampler (Figure 7.5). This allows users to
examine the relationship among successive samples within sampled chains.
Significant autocorrelation suggests that chains require thinning prior to use
of the posterior statistics for inference.
::
autocorrelation(pymc_object, name, maxlag=100, format='png', suffix='-acf',
path='./', fontmap = {1:10, 2:8, 3:6, 4:5, 5:4}, verbose=1)
* ``pymc_object``: The object that is or contains the output trace(s).
* ``name``: Name used for output files.
* ``maxlag``: The highest lag interval for which autocorrelation is calculated.
* ``format`` (optional): Graphic output file format (defaults to *png*).
* ``suffix`` (optional): Suffix to filename (defaults to *-diagnostic*)
* ``path`` (optional): The path for output graphics (defaults to working
directory).
* ``fontmap`` (optional): Dictionary containing the font map for the labels of
the graphic.
* ``verbose`` (optional): Verbosity level for output (defaults to 1).
Autocorrelation plots can be obtained simply by passing the sampler to the
`autocorrelation` function (within the `Matplot` module) directly::
>>> S = pymc.MCMC(gelman_bioassay)
>>> S.sample(10000, burn=5000)
>>> pymc.Matplot.autocorrelation(S)
Alternatively, variables within a model can be plotted individually. For
example, the parameter `beta` that was estimated using sampler `S` for the
`gelman_bioassay` model will yield a correlation plot as follows::
>>> pymc.Matplot.autocorrelation(S.beta)
.. _autocorr:
.. figure:: _images/autocorr.*
:align: center
:alt: Autocorrelation figure
:scale: 70 %
:width: 800
Sample autocorrelation plot for the switchpoint variable from the coal
mining disasters example model.
.. % section autocorrelation_plots (end)
.. _gof_section:
Goodness of Fit
===============
Checking for model convergence is only the first step in the evaluation of MCMC
model outputs. It is possible for an entirely unsuitable model to converge, so
additional steps are needed to ensure that the estimated model adequately fits
the data. One intuitive way of evaluating model fit is to compare model
predictions with the observations used to fit the model. In other words, the
fitted model can be used to simulate data, and the distribution of the
simulated data should resemble the distribution of the actual data.
Fortunately, simulating data from the model is a natural component of the
Bayesian modelling framework. Recall, from the discussion on imputation of
missing data, the posterior predictive distribution:
.. math::
p(\tilde{y}|y) = \int p(\tilde{y}|\theta) f(\theta|y) d\theta
Here, :math:`\tilde{y}` represents some hypothetical new data that would be
expected, taking into account the posterior uncertainty in the model
parameters. Sampling from the posterior predictive distribution is easy in
PyMC. The code looks identical to the corresponding data stochastic, with two
modifications: (1) the node should be specified as deterministic and (2) the
statistical likelihoods should be replaced by random number generators. As an
example, consider a simple dose-response model, where deaths are modeled as a
binomial random variable for which the probability of death is a logit-linear
function of the dose of a particular drug::
n = [5]*4
dose = [-.86,-.3,-.05,.73]
x = [0,1,3,5]
alpha = pymc.Normal('alpha', mu=0.0, tau=0.01)
beta = pymc.Normal('beta', mu=0.0, tau=0.01)
@pymc.deterministic
def theta(a=alpha, b=beta, d=dose):
"""theta = inv_logit(a+b)"""
return pymc.invlogit(a+b*d)
# deaths ~ binomial(n, p)
deaths = pymc.Binomial('deaths', n=n, p=theta, value=x, observed=True)
The posterior predictive distribution of deaths uses the same functional form
as the data likelihood, in this case a binomial stochastic. Here is the
corresponding sample from the posterior predictive distribution::
deaths_sim = pymc.Binomial('deaths_sim', n=n, p=theta)
Notice that the observed stochastic `pymc.Binomial` has been replaced with a
stochastic node that is identical in every respect to `deaths`, except that its
values are not fixed to be the observed data -- they are left to vary according
to the values of the fitted parameters.
The degree to which simulated data correspond to observations can be evaluated
in at least two ways. First, these quantities can simply be compared visually.
This allows for a qualitative comparison of model-based replicates and
observations. If there is poor fit, the true value of the data may appear in
the tails of the histogram of replicated data, while a good fit will tend to
show the true data in high-probability regions of the posterior predictive
distribution (Figure 7.6).
.. _gof:
.. figure:: _images/gof.*
:align: center
:alt: GOF figure
:scale: 70 %
:width: 800
Data sampled from the posterior predictive distribution of a binomial random
variate. The observed value (1) is shown by the dotted red line.
The Matplot package in PyMC provides an easy way of producing such plots, via
the ``gof_plot`` function. To illustrate, consider a single data point ``x``
and an array of values ``x_sim`` sampled from the posterior predictive
distribution. The histogram is generated by calling::
pymc.Matplot.gof_plot(x_sim, x, name='x')
A second approach for evaluating goodness of fit using samples from the
posterior predictive distribution involves the use of a statistical criterion.
For example, the Bayesian p-value [Gelman1996]_ uses a discrepancy measure
that quantifies the difference between data (observed or simulated) and the
expected value, conditional on some model. One such discrepancy measure is the
Freeman-Tukey statistic [Brooks2000]_:
.. math::
D(x|\theta) = \sum_j (\sqrt{x_j}-\sqrt{e_j})^2,
where the :math:`x_j` are data and :math:`e_j` are the corresponding expected
values, based on the model. Model fit is assessed by comparing the
discrepancies from observed data to those from simulated data. On average, we
expect the difference between them to be zero; hence, the Bayesian *p* value is
simply the proportion of simulated discrepancies that are larger than their
corresponding observed discrepancies:
.. math::
p = Pr[ D(x_{\text{sim}}|\theta) > D(x_{\text{obs}}|\theta) ]
If :math:`p` is very large (e.g. :math:`>0.975`) or very small (e.g.
:math:`<0.025`) this implies that the model is not consistent with the data,
and thus is evidence of lack of fit. Graphically, data and simulated
discrepancies plotted together should be clustered along a 45 degree line
passing through the origin, as shown in Figure 7.7.
.. _deviate:
.. figure:: _images/deviates.png
:align: center
:alt: deviates figure
:scale: 80 %
:width: 800
Plot of deviates of observed and simulated data from expected values.
The cluster of points symmetrically about the 45 degree line (and the
reported p-value) suggests acceptable fit for the modeled parameter.
The ``discrepancy`` function in the ``diagnostics`` package can be used to
generate discrepancy statistics from arrays of data, simulated values, and
expected values::
D = pymc.discrepancy(x, x_sim, x_exp)
For a dataset of size :math:`n` and an MCMC chain of length :math:`r`, this
implies that ``x`` is size ``(n,)``, ``x_sim`` is size ``(r,n)`` and ``x_exp``
is either size ``(r,)`` or ``(r,n)``. A call to this function returns two
arrays of discrepancy values (simulated and observed), which can be passed to
the ``discrepancy_plot`` function in the `Matplot` module to generate a scatter
plot, and if desired, a *p* value::
pymc.Matplot.discrepancy_plot(D, name='D', report_p=True)
Additional optional arguments for ``discrepancy_plot`` are identical to other
PyMC plotting functions.
.. % section goodness_of_fit (end)
.. rubric:: Footnotes
.. [#] Asymptotic behaviour implies that the variance and the mean value of the sample
stays relatively constant over some arbitrary period.