Fast moment-based estimation for hierarchical models

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Authors Patrick O. Perry
Journal/Conference Name Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series B (Statistical Methodology)
Paper Category
Paper Abstract Hierarchical models allow for heterogeneous behaviours in a population while simultaneously borrowing estimation strength across all subpopulations. Unfortunately, existing likelihood-based methods for fitting hierarchical models have high computational demands, and these demands have limited their adoption in large-scale prediction and inference problems. This paper proposes a moment-based procedure for estimating the parameters of a hierarchical model which has its roots in a method originally introduced by Cochin 1937. The method trades statistical efficiency for computational efficiency. It gives consistent parameter estimates, competitive prediction error performance, and substantial computational improvements. When applied to a large-scale recommender system application and compared to a standard maximum likelihood procedure, the method delivers competitive prediction performance while reducing the sequential computation time from hours to minutes.
Date of publication 2015
Code Programming Language R
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