Sophie Donnet (UMR518 AgroParisTech/INRA)

Bayesian inference for network Poisson models

vendredi 10 janvier 2020, 9h30 - 10h30

Salle du conseil, espace Turing

This work is motivated by the analysis of ecological interaction networks. Poisson stochastic blockmodels are widely used in this field to decipher the structure that underlies a weighted network, while accounting for covariate effects. Efficient algorithms based on variational approximations exist for frequentist inference, but without statistical guaranties as for the resulting estimates. In absence of variational Bayes estimates, we show that a good proxy of the posterior distribution can be straightforwardly derived from the frequentist variational estimation procedure, using a Laplace approximation. We use this proxy to sample from the true posterior distribution via a sequential Monte-Carlo algorithm. As shown in the simulation study, the efficiency of the posterior sampling is greatly improved by the accuracy of the approximate posterior distribution. The proposed procedure can be easily extended to other latent variable models. We use this methodology to assess the influence of available covariates on the organization of two ecological networks, as well as the existence of a residual interaction structure.
Joint work with Stéphane Robin.