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Bayesian Adaptive Hamiltonian Monte Carlo with an Application to High-Dimensional BEKK GARCH Models

By Martin Burda and John Maheu


Hamiltonian Monte Carlo (HMC) is a recent statistical procedure to sample from complex distributions. Distant proposal draws are taken in a equence of steps following the Hamiltonian dynamics of the underlying parameter space, often yielding superior mixing properties of the resulting Markov chain. However, its performance can deteriorate sharply with the degree of irregularity of the underlying likelihood due to its lack of local adaptability in the parameter space. Riemann Manifold HMC (RMHMC), a locally adaptive version of HMC, alleviates this problem, but at a substantially increased computational cost that can become prohibitive in high-dimensional scenarios. In this paper we propose the Adaptive HMC (AHMC), an alternative inferential method based on HMC that is both fast and locally adaptive, combining the advantages of both HMC and RMHMC. The benefits become more pronounced with higher dimensionality of the parameter space and with the degree of irregularity of the underlying likelihood surface. We show that AHMC satisfies detailed balance for a valid MCMC scheme and provide a comparison with RMHMC in terms of effective sample size, highlighting substantial efficiency gains of AHMC. Simulation examples and an application of the BEKK GARCH model show the usefulness of the new posterior sampler.High-dimensional joint sampling; Markov chain Monte Carlo; Multivariate GARCH

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