Hamiltonian Monte Carlo

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In computational physics and statistics, the Hamiltonian Monte Carlo algorithm (also known as hybrid Monte Carlo), is a Markov chain Monte Carlo method for obtaining a sequence of random samples which converge to being distributed according to a target probability distribution for which direct sampling is difficult. This sequence can be used to estimate integrals with respect to the target distribution (expected values).

Hamiltonian Monte Carlo corresponds to an instance of the Metropolis–Hastings algorithm, with a Hamiltonian dynamics evolution simulated using a time-reversible and volume-preserving numerical integrator (typically the leapfrog integrator) to propose a move to a new point in the state space. Compared to using a Gaussian random walk proposal distribution in the Metropolis–Hastings algorithm, Hamiltonian Monte Carlo reduces the correlation between successive sampled states by proposing moves to distant states which maintain a high probability of acceptance due to the approximate energy conserving properties of the simulated Hamiltonian dynamic when using a symplectic integrator. The reduced correlation means fewer Markov chain samples are needed to approximate integrals with respect to the target probability distribution for a given Monte Carlo error. The algorithm was originally proposed by Simon Duane, Anthony Kennedy, Brian Pendleton and Duncan Roweth in 1987,[1] for calculations in lattice quantum chromodynamics.

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  1. ^ Duane, Simon; Kennedy, Anthony D.; Pendleton, Brian J.; Roweth, Duncan (3 September 1987). "Hybrid Monte Carlo". Physics Letters B. 195 (2): 216–222. Bibcode:1987PhLB..195..216D. doi:10.1016/0370-2693(87)91197-X.


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