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Variance Reduction for Metropolis-Hastings Samplers

Alexopoulos, Angelos; Dellaportas, Petros; Titsias, Michalis K; (2022) Variance Reduction for Metropolis-Hastings Samplers. Statistics and Computing , 33 , Article 6. 10.1007/s11222-022-10183-2. Green open access

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We introduce a general framework that constructs estimators with reduced variance for random walk Metropolis and Metropolis-adjusted Langevin algorithms. The resulting estimators require negligible computational cost and are derived in a post-process manner utilising all proposal values of the Metropolis algorithms. Variance reduction is achieved by producing control variates through the approximate solution of the Poisson equation associated with the target density of the Markov chain. The proposed method is based on approximating the target density with a Gaussian and then utilising accurate solutions of the Poisson equation for the Gaussian case. This leads to an estimator that uses two key elements: (1) a control variate from the Poisson equation that contains an intractable expectation under the proposal distribution, (2) a second control variate to reduce the variance of a Monte Carlo estimate of this latter intractable expectation. Simulated data examples are used to illustrate the impressive variance reduction achieved in the Gaussian target case and the corresponding effect when target Gaussianity assumption is violated. Real data examples on Bayesian logistic regression and stochastic volatility models verify that considerable variance reduction is achieved with negligible extra computational cost.

Type: Article
Title: Variance Reduction for Metropolis-Hastings Samplers
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s11222-022-10183-2
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11222-022-10183-2
Language: English
Additional information: Open Access: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Keywords: Bayesian inference; Control variates; Markov chain Monte Carlo; Logistic regression; Poisson equation; Stochastic volatility
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Statistical Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10159268
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