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Bayesian probabilistic numerical methods

Presented by: 
Tim Sullivan
Tuesday 10th April 2018 - 15:00 to 16:00
INI Seminar Room 1
In this work, numerical computation - such as numerical solution of a PDE - is treated as a statistical inverse problem in its own right. The popular Bayesian approach to inversion is considered, wherein a posterior distribution is induced over the object of interest by conditioning a prior distribution on the same finite information that would be used in a classical numerical method. The main technical consideration is that the data in this context are non-random and thus the standard Bayes' theorem does not hold. General conditions will be presented under which such Bayesian probabilistic numerical methods are well-posed, and a sequential Monte-Carlo method will be shown to provide consistent estimation of the posterior. The paradigm is extended to computational ``pipelines'', through which a distributional quantification of numerical error can be propagated. A sufficient condition is presented for when such propagation can be endowed with a globally coherent Bayesian interpretation, based on a novel class of probabilistic graphical models designed to represent a computational work-flow. The concepts are illustrated through explicit numerical experiments involving both linear and non-linear PDE models. This is joint work with Jon Cockayne, Chris Oates, and Mark Girolami. Further details are available in the preprint arXiv:1702.03673.
University of Cambridge Research Councils UK
    Clay Mathematics Institute London Mathematical Society NM Rothschild and Sons