Metropolis-Hastings is a Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) method for sampling from a posterior p\left(z\mid{y}\right) where the normalizing constant p\left(y\right) is unknown. There are a number of steps: We initialize the algorithm with a guess z^{0}. One choice could be z^{0}=z^{PML}. Then for t=1:N

1. We generate a proposal z^{Prop} from a proposal distribution q\left(z^{Prop}\mid{z}^{t-1}\right)
  1. We compute the acceptance ratio \alpha = \min\left(1,\frac{p\left(y\mid{z}^{Prop}\right)p\left(z^{Prop}\right)q\left(z^{t-1}\mid{z}^{Prop}\right)}{p\left(y\mid{z}^{t-1}\right)p\left(z^{t-1}\right)q\left(z^{Prop}\mid{z}^{t-1}\right)}\right)

  2. We set z^{t}=z^{Prop} with probability \alpha, else z^{t}=z^{t-1}

A popular proposal distribution is a random walk of the form z^{Prop} = z^{t-1} + \epsilon_{t} with random variables generated from a multivariate normal. The scale of the covariance matrix is tuned to achieve a good acceptance rate. The optimal acceptance rate for random walk Metropolis-Hastings is between 0.232 and 0.4 depending on the number of latent variables, so PyFlux will run a tuning stage until the acceptance rate falls between these goal posts. Once tuning is done, we can obtain N draws from the algorithm.


First we will load some stock data using Pandas DataReader function:

import numpy as np
import pyflux as pf
from import DataReader
from datetime import datetime
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
import matplotlib.mlab as mlab
%matplotlib inline 

fb = DataReader('FB',  'yahoo', datetime(2013,1,1), datetime(2016,6,10))
fb['Logged Adj Close'] = np.log(fb['Adj Close'].values)
plt.plot(fb.index[1:len(fb.index)],np.diff(fb['Adj Close'].values))
plt.title('IBM Returns')

We will estimate an ARIMA(2,1,2) on this dataset using Metropolis-Hastings. But first we need to check we are happy with our prior specification:

model = pf.ARIMA(data=fb,ar=2,ma=2,integ=1,target='Logged Adj Close')
Index    Latent Variable           Prior           Prior Latent Vars         V.I. Dist  Transform 
======== ========================= =============== ========================= ========== ==========
0        Constant                  Normal          mu0: 0, sigma0: 3         Normal     None      
1        AR(1)                     Normal          mu0: 0, sigma0: 0.5       Normal     None      
2        AR(2)                     Normal          mu0: 0, sigma0: 0.5       Normal     None      
3        MA(1)                     Normal          mu0: 0, sigma0: 0.5       Normal     None      
4        MA(2)                     Normal          mu0: 0, sigma0: 0.5       Normal     None      
5        Sigma                     Uniform         n/a (non-informative)     Normal     exp       

The prior on the constant is weakly informative for this problem. The AR and MA priors are a little more informative to discourage values that would create non-stationarity. Plotting the pdf of the Normal prior with the associated hyperparameters gives:

mu = 0
sigma = 0.5
x = np.linspace(-3, 3, 100)
plt.title("Default prior for the AR and MA latent variables")
plt.plot(x,mlab.normpdf(x, mu, sigma));

In practice, we may want a little stronger regularization here, but lets proceed and run random-walk Metropolis-Hastings using the M-H model fit option:

model = pf.ARIMA(data=fb,ar=2,ma=2,integ=1,target='Logged Adj Close')
x ="M-H",nsims=100000)
Acceptance rate of Metropolis-Hastings is 0.00172
Acceptance rate of Metropolis-Hastings is 0.25594

Tuning complete! Now sampling.
Acceptance rate of Metropolis-Hastings is 0.25698

We can plot the latent variables using plot_z – below we plot the AR and MA latent variables:


For informal checks to see if the algorithm appears to have converged, we can call the trace_plot method upon the model’s latent variables object: