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Better Languages for Statistics: foundations for non-parametric probabilistic programming

Project description

For new, easier probabilistic programming languages

Today’s scientists benefit from the accessibility of various databases. But analysis requires new methods in probabilities reasoning and more precise tools. Probabilistic programming learns from methods of programming languages to apply them in designing and using a special programming language for statistical models. It’s used in Bayesian statistics modelling, mainly for a complex, non-parametric sample space, in which the statistical model can be explained in a precise way, but separately from inference algorithms mostly limited in scope. The EU-funded BLaSt project aims at research that will allow creating a semantic base for new probabilistic programming languages and, especially, for a programming language explaining precisely the non-parametric aspects in the symmetries that emerge.

Objective

Probabilistic programming is a powerful method for Bayesian statistical modelling, particularly where the sample space is complex or unbounded (non-parametric). This is because the statistical model can be described clearly in a way that is precise but separate from inference algorithms. It accommodates complex models in such a way that outcomes are still explainable.

The objective of the proposed research is to develop a semantic foundation for probabilistic programming that properly explains the non-parametric aspects, particularly the symmetries that arise there. There are three ultimate goals:

* to propose new probabilistic programming languages: better languages for statistics;
* to devise new general inference methods for probabilistic programs;
* to build new foundations for probability.

The method is to build on advances on exploiting symmetries in traditional programming lan- guage semantics, by combining this with recent successes in formal semantics and verification for probabilistic programming.

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Coordinator

THE CHANCELLOR, MASTERS AND SCHOLARS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD
Net EU contribution
€ 1 931 178,00
Address
Wellington square university offices
OX1 2JD Oxford
United Kingdom

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Region
South East (England) Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Oxfordshire
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Links
Other funding
€ 0,00

Beneficiaries (1)