Mike Lee Williams on Probabilistic Programming, Bayesian Inference, and Languages like PyMC3
Published August 31, 2018
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33 min
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    Probabilistic Programming has been discussed as a programming paradigm that uses statistical approaches to dealing with uncertainty in data as a first class construct. On today’s podcast, Wes talks with Mike Lee Williams of Cloudera’s Fast Forward Labs about Probabilistic Programming. The two discusses how Bayesian Inference works, how it’s used in Probabilistic Programming, production-level languages in the space, and some of the implementations/libraries that we’re seeing. Key Takeaways * Federated machine learning is an approach of developing models at an edge device and returning just the model to a centralized location. By taking the averages of the edge models, you can protect privacy and distribute processing of building models. *Probabilistic Programming is a family of programming languages that make statistical problems easier to describe and solve. *It is heavily influenced by Bayesian Inference or an approach to experimentation that turns what you know before the experiment and the results of the experiment into concrete answers on what you should do next. * The Bayesian approach to unsupervised learning comes with the ability to measure uncertainty (or the ability to quantify risk). * Most of the tooling used for Probabilistic Programming today is highly declarative. “You simply describe the world and press go.” * If you have a practical, real-world problem today for Probabilistic Programming, Stan and PyMC3 are two languages to consider. Both are relatively mature languages with great documentation. * Prophet, a time-series forecasting library built at Facebook as a wrapper around Stan, is a particularly approachable place to use Bayesian Inference for forecasting use cases general purpose.
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