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Bayesian Core: A Practical Approach to Computational Bayesian Statistics (Springer Texts in Statistics) 1st Edition

2.8 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0387389790
ISBN-10: 0387389792
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Editorial Reviews

Review

From the reviews:

"The matching of each computational technique to a real data set allows readers to fully appreciate the Bayesian analysis process, from model formation to prior selection and practical implementation." (Lawrence Joseph from Biometrics, Issue 63, September 2007)

"Recent times have seen several new books introducing Bayesian computing. This book is an introduction on a higher level. ‘The purpose of this book is to provide a self-contained entry to practical & computational Bayesian Statistics using generic examples from the most common models.’ … Many researchers and Ph.D. students will find the R-programs in the book a nice start for their own problems and an innovative source for further developments." (Wolfgang Polasek, Statistical Papers, Vol. 49, 2008)

"This text intentionally focuses on a few fundamental Bayesian statistical models and key computational tools. … Bayesian Core is more than a textbook: it is an entire course carefully crafted with the student in mind. … As an instructor of Bayesian statistics courses, I was pleased to discover this ready- and well-made, self-contained introductory course for (primarily) graduate students in statistics and other quantitative disciplines. I am seriously considering Bayesian Core for my next course in Bayesian statistics." (Jarrett J. Barber, Journal of the American Statistical Association, Vol. 103 (481), 2008)

"The book aims to be a self-contained entry to Bayesian computational statistics for practitioners as well as students at both the graduate and undergraduate level, and has been test-driven in a number of courses given by the authors. … Two particularly attractive aspects of the book are its concise and clear writing style, which is really enjoyable, and its focus on the development of an intuitive feel for the material: the numerous insightful remarks should make the book a real treat … ." (Pieter Bastiaan Ober, Journal of Applied Statistics, Vol. 35 (1), 2008)

"The book is a good, compact and self-contained introduction to the applications of Bayesian statistics and to the use of R to implement the procedures. … a reader with a previous formal course in statistics will enjoy reading this book. … the authors are not shy of presenting such complex models as hidden Markov models and Markov random fields in a simple and direct way. This adds an edge to a compact and useful text." (Mauro Gasparini, Zentralblatt MATH, Vol. 1137 (15), 2008)

"This book’s title captures its focus. It is a textbook covering the core statistical models from both a Bayesian viewpoint and a computational viewpoint. … There is a discussion of choice of priors, along with math to derive the priors. … The book is being actively used as a textbook by a number of university courses. … The course level is graduate or advanced undergraduate. Solutions to the exercises are available to course instructors … . In conclusion, the book does what it does, well." (Rohan Baxter, ACM Computing Reviews, December, 2008)

From the Back Cover

This Bayesian modeling book is intended for practitioners and applied statisticians looking for a self-contained entry to computational Bayesian statistics. Focusing on standard statistical models and backed up by discussed real datasets available from the book website, it provides an operational methodology for conducting Bayesian inference, rather than focusing on its theoretical justifications. Special attention is paid to the derivation of prior distributions in each case and specific reference solutions are given for each of the models. Similarly, computational details are worked out to lead the reader towards an effective programming of the methods given in the book. While R programs are provided on the book website and R hints are given in the computational sections of the book, The Bayesian Core requires no knowledge of the R language and it can be read and used with any other programming language.

The Bayesian Core can be used as a textbook at both undergraduate and graduate levels, as exemplified by courses given at Université Paris Dauphine (France), University of Canterbury (New Zealand), and University of British Columbia (Canada). It serves as a unique textbook for a service course for scientists aiming at analyzing data the Bayesian way as well as an introductory course on Bayesian statistics. The prerequisites for the book are a basic knowledge of probability theory and of statistics. Methodological and data-based exercises are included within the main text and students are expected to solve them as they read the book. Those exercises can obviously serve as assignments, as was done in the above courses. Datasets, R codes and course slides all are available on the book website.

Jean-Michel Marin is currently senior researcher at INRIA, the French Computer Science research institute, and located at Université Paris-Sud, Orsay. He has previously been Assistant Professor at Université Paris Dauphine for four years. He has written numerous papers on Bayesian methodology and computing, and is currently a member of the council of the French Statistical Society.

Christian Robert is Professor of Statistics at Université Paris Dauphine and Head of the Statistics Research Laboratory at CREST-INSEE, Paris. He has written over a hundred papers on Bayesian Statistics and computational methods and is the author or co-author of seven books on those topics, including The Bayesian Choice (Springer, 2001), winner of the ISBA DeGroot Prize in 2004. He is a Fellow and member of the council of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, and a Fellow and member of the research committee of the Royal Statistical Society. He is currently co-editor of the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series B, after taking part in the editorial boards of the Journal of the American Statistical Society, the Annals of Statistics, Statistical Science, and Bayesian Analysis. He is also the winner of the Young Statistician prize of the Paris Statistical Society in 1996 and a recipient of an Erskine Fellowship from the University of Canterbury (NZ) in 2006.

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Product Details

  • Series: Springer Texts in Statistics
  • Hardcover: 258 pages
  • Publisher: Springer; 1st edition (February 2, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0387389792
  • ISBN-13: 978-0387389790
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,903,669 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I have used 'Bayesian Core' to teach Bayesian statistics to a class of Masters students majoring in finance, statistics or business with an undergraduate mathematics/statistics background and found it to be quite a good book for this purpose. I would have to disagree though with the previous reviewer (A.L.H Mayne) and suggest that this book could also be good for a practitioner, provided they have some prior statistical and mathematical understanding. A limitation for self guided study is the absence of solutions to exercises or hints necessary to ensure understanding for some of the exercises. I would also have to disagree with the previous reviewer over what is or what is not discussed in the book! The statement "conjugacy is mentioned in exercise 2.10 on page 22 with no discussion" is simply not true, the entire page preceding this exercise discusses conjugate priors in particular and they are subsequently used and outlined in the following chapters. There is also considerable attention paid in the book to the use of improper priors, in particular with respect to the implications of using improper priors for the estimation of Bayes factors (Chapter 3). A more thorough description of Jeffrey's Lindley paradox could be provided but a more complete discussion of this seems outside the scope of the book. Similarly, outlining the "historical antecedents ..." and more "...theory" about Jeffrey's prior than what is already provided, while interesting and important in its own right, is not necessarily mandatory reading for the student or practitioner who seeks a practical introduction to the Bayesian approach.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
"Bayesian Core" attempts to balance Bayesian theory, computations and applications in a compact book of about 250 pages intended for teaching and learning modern Bayesian statistics. It succeeds in its ambitious goals to some extent but does have some shortcomings. The book has some nice features that I like:
(a) Exercises are placed at strategic locations within the main body of a chapter rather than put collectively at the end. This helps the student to consolidate key ideas before moving on.
(b) In each chapter, one or two real-world data sets are adopted as a common thread linking ideas and techniques within the chapter. This helps to demonstrate application in a timely and tangible manner. Computer implementation is also aided by the provision of pseudocode or R code.
(c) Warnings about common pitfalls are provided and highlighted.

Generally, I find "Bayesian Core" to be a highly versatile book that is useful at different levels. At the level of introductory-to-intermediate Bayesian statistics, I taught a course in 2006 and 2008 for third and fourth year undergraduate students (with second year statistics background) based on the book. The course comprised 24 lecture hours plus 12 supervised computer lab hours and I was able to cover most of the material in chapters 1 to 4. As an instructor, I had access to slides and solutions that accompanied the book and found these to be extremely helpful for conducting the course. I would not recommend the book for self-study to someone who is encountering Bayesian statistics for the first time (self-study from the book is quite feasible for someone who already has some background in Bayesian statistics). However, when used in an instructed course, the book and its accompanying resources worked quite well.
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Format: Hardcover
First, it is only fair that I state upfront that the publisher Springer-Verlag provided me with a copy of the book and asked me to give a candid account of the book. Obviously the publisher was hoping for a favorable review to balance the negative review by Mr Mayne. Mayne's review stood alone on amazon at the time. The editor at Springer knows me personally and knows that I am a well established statistician who has done many capable reviews on amazon and in the journals. Springer-Verlag also at one time offered me a contract to write my bootstrap book with them.

In the email message, the acquisitions editor suggested that Mr Mayne provided a review that had incorrect statements and at the time stood as the only customer review of the book. After reading the review I recognized that Mayne had a good knowledge of Bayesian statistics and might have a few valid points. While I had not yet read the book I felt that Mayne was familiar with many excellent texts on Bayesian statistics and I agree that Jeff Gill's text is one of the best introductory texts on Bayesian statistics for non-statisticians. It covers the MCMC method about as well as any text I have seen.

On the other side I took a short course on Monte Carlo methods from George Casella and Jeff Gill using the book written by Casella and Christian Robert, one of the authors of Bayesian Core.

Now there is a second review which refutes some of what Mayne says that was unfair to Marin and Robert. So the need for my review may be less important. However, now that I have reviewed the book I think I have comments that will show that I have a very favorable impression of the text but also understand the points of view of both previous reviewers.
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