# Linear Regression

Turing is powerful when applied to complex hierarchical models, but it can also be put to task at common statistical procedures, like linear regression. This tutorial covers how to implement a linear regression model in Turing.

## Set Up

We begin by importing all the necessary libraries.

# Import Turing and Distributions.
using Turing, Distributions

# Import RDatasets.
using RDatasets

# Import MCMCChains, Plots, and StatPlots for visualizations and diagnostics.
using MCMCChains, Plots, StatsPlots

# Functionality for splitting and normalizing the data.
using MLDataUtils: shuffleobs, splitobs, rescale!

# Functionality for evaluating the model predictions.
using Distances

# Set a seed for reproducibility.
using Random
Random.seed!(0)

# Hide the progress prompt while sampling.
Turing.turnprogress(false);

┌ Info: Precompiling Turing [fce5fe82-541a-59a6-adf8-730c64b5f9a0]
┌ Info: Precompiling Plots [91a5bcdd-55d7-5caf-9e0b-520d859cae80]
┌ Info: Precompiling StatsPlots [f3b207a7-027a-5e70-b257-86293d7955fd]
┌ Info: Precompiling MLDataUtils [cc2ba9b6-d476-5e6d-8eaf-a92d5412d41d]
┌ Info: [Turing]: progress logging is disabled globally
└ @ Turing /home/cameron/.julia/packages/Turing/GMBTf/src/Turing.jl:22


We will use the mtcars dataset from the RDatasets package. mtcars contains a variety of statistics on different car models, including their miles per gallon, number of cylinders, and horsepower, among others.

We want to know if we can construct a Bayesian linear regression model to predict the miles per gallon of a car, given the other statistics it has. Lets take a look at the data we have.

# Import the "Default" dataset.
data = RDatasets.dataset("datasets", "mtcars");

# Show the first six rows of the dataset.
first(data, 6)


6 rows × 12 columns (omitted printing of 3 columns)

ModelMPGCylDispHPDRatWTQSecVS
StringFloat64Int64Float64Int64Float64Float64Float64Int64
1Mazda RX421.06160.01103.92.6216.460
2Mazda RX4 Wag21.06160.01103.92.87517.020
3Datsun 71022.84108.0933.852.3218.611
4Hornet 4 Drive21.46258.01103.083.21519.441
6Valiant18.16225.01052.763.4620.221
size(data)

(32, 12)


The next step is to get our data ready for testing. We’ll split the mtcars dataset into two subsets, one for training our model and one for evaluating our model. Then, we separate the targets we want to learn (MPG, in this case) and standardize the datasets by subtracting each column’s means and dividing by the standard deviation of that column. The resulting data is not very familiar looking, but this standardization process helps the sampler converge far easier.

# Remove the model column.
select!(data, Not(:Model))

# Split our dataset 70%/30% into training/test sets.
trainset, testset = splitobs(shuffleobs(data), 0.7)

# Turing requires data in matrix form.
target = :MPG
train = Matrix(select(trainset, Not(target)))
test = Matrix(select(testset, Not(target)))
train_target = trainset[:, target]
test_target = testset[:, target]

# Standardize the features.
μ, σ = rescale!(train; obsdim = 1)
rescale!(test, μ, σ; obsdim = 1)

# Standardize the targets.
μtarget, σtarget = rescale!(train_target; obsdim = 1)
rescale!(test_target, μtarget, σtarget; obsdim = 1);


## Model Specification

In a traditional frequentist model using OLS, our model might look like:

$$MPG_i = \alpha + \boldsymbol{\beta}^\mathsf{T}\boldsymbol{X_i}$$

where $$\boldsymbol{\beta}$$ is a vector of coefficients and $$\boldsymbol{X}$$ is a vector of inputs for observation $$i$$. The Bayesian model we are more concerned with is the following:

$$MPG_i \sim \mathcal{N}(\alpha + \boldsymbol{\beta}^\mathsf{T}\boldsymbol{X_i}, \sigma^2)$$

where $$\alpha$$ is an intercept term common to all observations, $$\boldsymbol{\beta}$$ is a coefficient vector, $$\boldsymbol{X_i}$$ is the observed data for car $$i$$, and $$\sigma^2$$ is a common variance term.

For $$\sigma^2$$, we assign a prior of truncated(Normal(0, 100), 0, Inf). This is consistent with Andrew Gelman’s recommendations on noninformative priors for variance. The intercept term ($$\alpha$$) is assumed to be normally distributed with a mean of zero and a variance of three. This represents our assumptions that miles per gallon can be explained mostly by our assorted variables, but a high variance term indicates our uncertainty about that. Each coefficient is assumed to be normally distributed with a mean of zero and a variance of 10. We do not know that our coefficients are different from zero, and we don’t know which ones are likely to be the most important, so the variance term is quite high. Lastly, each observation $$y_i$$ is distributed according to the calculated mu term given by $$\alpha + \boldsymbol{\beta}^\mathsf{T}\boldsymbol{X_i}$$.

# Bayesian linear regression.
@model function linear_regression(x, y)
# Set variance prior.
σ₂ ~ truncated(Normal(0, 100), 0, Inf)

# Set intercept prior.
intercept ~ Normal(0, sqrt(3))

# Set the priors on our coefficients.
nfeatures = size(x, 2)
coefficients ~ MvNormal(nfeatures, sqrt(10))

# Calculate all the mu terms.
mu = intercept .+ x * coefficients
y ~ MvNormal(mu, sqrt(σ₂))
end

DynamicPPL.ModelGen{var"###generator#273",(:x, :y),(),Tuple{}}(##generator#273, NamedTuple())


With our model specified, we can call the sampler. We will use the No U-Turn Sampler (NUTS) here.

model = linear_regression(train, train_target)
chain = sample(model, NUTS(0.65), 3_000);

┌ Info: Found initial step size
│   ϵ = 1.6
└ @ Turing.Inference /home/cameron/.julia/packages/Turing/GMBTf/src/inference/hmc.jl:629
┌ Warning: The current proposal will be rejected due to numerical error(s).
│   isfinite.((θ, r, ℓπ, ℓκ)) = (true, false, false, false)
┌ Warning: The current proposal will be rejected due to numerical error(s).
│   isfinite.((θ, r, ℓπ, ℓκ)) = (true, false, false, false)


As a visual check to confirm that our coefficients have converged, we show the densities and trace plots for our parameters using the plot functionality.

plot(chain) It looks like each of our parameters has converged. We can check our numerical esimates using describe(chain), as below.

describe(chain)

2-element Array{ChainDataFrame,1}

Summary Statistics
parameters     mean     std  naive_se    mcse       ess   r_hat
────────────────  ───────  ──────  ────────  ──────  ────────  ──────
coefficients  -0.0413  0.5648    0.0126  0.0389  265.1907  1.0010
coefficients   0.2770  0.6994    0.0156  0.0401  375.2777  1.0067
coefficients  -0.4116  0.3850    0.0086  0.0160  695.3990  1.0032
coefficients   0.1805  0.2948    0.0066  0.0126  479.9290  1.0010
coefficients  -0.2669  0.7168    0.0160  0.0316  373.0291  1.0009
coefficients   0.0256  0.3461    0.0077  0.0119  571.0954  1.0028
coefficients   0.0277  0.3899    0.0087  0.0174  637.1596  1.0007
coefficients   0.1535  0.3050    0.0068  0.0117  579.1998  1.0032
coefficients   0.1223  0.2839    0.0063  0.0105  587.6752  0.9995
coefficients  -0.2839  0.3975    0.0089  0.0195  360.9612  1.0019
intercept   0.0058  0.1179    0.0026  0.0044  580.0222  0.9995
σ₂   0.3017  0.1955    0.0044  0.0132  227.2322  1.0005

Quantiles
parameters     2.5%    25.0%    50.0%    75.0%   97.5%
────────────────  ───────  ───────  ───────  ───────  ──────
coefficients  -1.0991  -0.4265  -0.0199   0.3244  1.1093
coefficients  -1.1369  -0.1523   0.2854   0.7154  1.6488
coefficients  -1.1957  -0.6272  -0.3986  -0.1800  0.3587
coefficients  -0.3896  -0.0155   0.1663   0.3593  0.7818
coefficients  -1.6858  -0.6835  -0.2683   0.1378  1.1995
coefficients  -0.6865  -0.1672   0.0325   0.2214  0.7251
coefficients  -0.7644  -0.1976   0.0090   0.2835  0.8185
coefficients  -0.4980  -0.0194   0.1451   0.3428  0.7685
coefficients  -0.4643  -0.0294   0.1237   0.2807  0.7218
coefficients  -1.0898  -0.5091  -0.2846  -0.0413  0.5163
intercept  -0.2240  -0.0671   0.0083   0.0746  0.2364
σ₂   0.1043   0.1860   0.2525   0.3530  0.8490


## Comparing to OLS

A satisfactory test of our model is to evaluate how well it predicts. Importantly, we want to compare our model to existing tools like OLS. The code below uses the GLM.jl package to generate a traditional OLS multiple regression model on the same data as our probabalistic model.

# Import the GLM package.
using GLM

# Perform multiple regression OLS.
train_with_intercept = hcat(ones(size(train, 1)), train)
ols = lm(train_with_intercept, train_target)

# Compute predictions on the training data set
# and unstandardize them.
p = GLM.predict(ols)
train_prediction_ols = μtarget .+ σtarget .* p

# Compute predictions on the test data set
# and unstandardize them.
test_with_intercept = hcat(ones(size(test, 1)), test)
p = GLM.predict(ols, test_with_intercept)
test_prediction_ols = μtarget .+ σtarget .* p;

┌ Info: Precompiling GLM [38e38edf-8417-5370-95a0-9cbb8c7f171a]


The function below accepts a chain and an input matrix and calculates predictions. We use the samples of the model parameters in the chain starting with sample 200, which is where the warm-up period for the NUTS sampler ended.

# Make a prediction given an input vector.
function prediction(chain, x)
p = get_params(chain[200:end, :, :])
targets = p.intercept' .+ x * reduce(hcat, p.coefficients)'
return vec(mean(targets; dims = 2))
end

prediction (generic function with 1 method)


When we make predictions, we unstandardize them so they are more understandable.

# Calculate the predictions for the training and testing sets
# and unstandardize them.
p = prediction(chain, train)
train_prediction_bayes = μtarget .+ σtarget .* p
p = prediction(chain, test)
test_prediction_bayes = μtarget .+ σtarget .* p

# Show the predictions on the test data set.
DataFrame(
MPG = testset[!, target],
Bayes = test_prediction_bayes,
OLS = test_prediction_ols
)


10 rows × 3 columns

MPGBayesOLS
Float64Float64Float64
119.218.376618.1265
215.06.41766.37891
316.413.912513.883
414.311.839311.7337
521.425.362225.1916
618.120.768720.672
719.716.0315.8408
815.218.290318.3391
926.028.519128.4865
1017.314.49814.534

Now let’s evaluate the loss for each method, and each prediction set. We will use the mean squared error to evaluate loss, given by $$\text{MSE} = \frac{1}{n} \sum_{i=1}^n {(y_i - \hat{y_i})^2}$$ where $$y_i$$ is the actual value (true MPG) and $$\hat{y_i}$$ is the predicted value using either OLS or Bayesian linear regression. A lower SSE indicates a closer fit to the data.

println(
"Training set:",
"\n\tBayes loss: ",
msd(train_prediction_bayes, trainset[!, target]),
"\n\tOLS loss: ",
msd(train_prediction_ols, trainset[!, target])
)

println(
"Test set:",
"\n\tBayes loss: ",
msd(test_prediction_bayes, testset[!, target]),
"\n\tOLS loss: ",
msd(test_prediction_ols, testset[!, target])
)

Training set:
Bayes loss: 4.664508273535872
OLS loss: 4.648142085690519
Test set:
Bayes loss: 14.66153554719035
OLS loss: 14.796847779051628


As we can see above, OLS and our Bayesian model fit our training and test data set about the same.