Episode 7

#7 Designing a Probabilistic Programming Language & Debugging a Model, with Junpeng Lao

You can’t study psychology up until your PhD and end-up doing very mathematical and computational data science at Google right? It’s too hard of a U-turn — some would even say it’s NUTS, just because they like bad puns… Well think again, because Junpeng Lao did just that!

Before doing data science at Google, Junpeng was a cognitive psychology researcher at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. Working in Python, Matlab and occasionally in R, Junpeng is a prolific open-source contributor, particularly to the popular TensorFlow and PyMC3 libraries. He also maintains the PyMC Discourse on his free time, where he amazingly answers all kinds of various and very specific questions!

In this episode, he’ll tell you what the core characteristics of TensorFlow Probability are, and when you would use TFP instead of another probabilistic programming framework, like Stan or PyMC3. He’ll also explain why PyMC4 will be based on TensorFlow Probability itself, and what future contributions he has in mind for these two amazing libraries. Finally, Junpeng will share with you his workflow for debugging a model, or just for better understanding your models.

Our theme music is « Good Bayesian », by Baba Brinkman (feat MC Lars and Mega Ran). Check out his awesome work at https://bababrinkman.com/ !

Links from the show: 

About the Podcast

Show artwork for Learning Bayesian Statistics
Learning Bayesian Statistics
A podcast on Bayesian inference - the methods, the projects and the people who make it possible!

About your host

Profile picture for Alexandre Andorra

Alexandre Andorra

Hi! I'm your host, Alex Andorra. By day, I'm a Bayesian modeler at the PyMC Labs consultancy. By night, I don't (yet) fight crime, but I'm an open-source enthusiast and core contributor to the awesome Python packages PyMC and ArviZ.

An always-learning statistician, I love building models and studying elections and human behavior. I also love Nutella a bit too much, but I don't like talking about it – I prefer eating it.

My goal is to make this podcast as interesting and useful to you as possible. So, hit me on Twitter or email with your questions and suggestions!