Using a sledgehammer to squash a grape …

I enjoyed a quirk in this paper by Ngo et al. (2015) on today’s astro ph: the authors use an affine invariant MCMC sampler to estimate a single parameter (the companion fraction) from a single parameter model for which (see plot below) importance sampling from their uniform prior would have had an efficiency of ~50% in terms of effective sample size—and I imagine an ~500% efficiency improvement in terms of human effort (i.e., one line in R vs. the time wasted configuring the MCMC sampler and checking convergence)!
sf
Still, I guess it gives a citation to the authors of the sampler package …

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2 Responses to Using a sledgehammer to squash a grape …

  1. Roberto Trotta says:

    Ok, sure – but a fine sledgehammer it is! 🙂 (Presumably, good exercise for a student)

  2. This post needed some good hammer based puns. A missed opportunity 😉

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