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2019-06-28
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zane10:06:14

Metaprob's sister language Gen is getting some attention on Hacker News. Peaked last night at #2. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20302158 Metaprob is a probabilistic programming language embedded in Clojure. https://github.com/probcomp/metaprob

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daslu14:06:25

Cool. @U050CT4HR could you explain in which sense they are sisters?

zane14:06:20

A couple ways: 1. They both come out of the MIT Probabilistic Computing Project 2. They both allow for programmable inference

zane14:06:52

That second one is one of the main things that differentiates Metaprob from most other PPLs (including Anglican) in my view.

daslu16:06:46

Thanks @U050CT4HR. That second one (and its uses) is indeed one of those things that I haven't grokked yet.

zane17:06:51

It's basically a performance concern, and in this domain performance ~= accuracy.

zane17:06:12

Custom inference algorithms can make a problem that's intractable using off-the-shelf inference algorithms tractable.

daslu18:06:08

Thanks. I wonder how this differs from Anglican's approach, where different inference algorithms are, in a sense, different 'virtual machines', each defining a specific way to run the inference code (each defining specific semantics to the inference code). Looking forward to learn more about Metaprob.

zane21:06:43

That's interesting I hadn't thought of the inference algorithms as virtual machines.

zane21:06:31

The other reason why I prefer Metaprob to Anglican is that Anglican probabilistic programs aren't really written in Clojure, they're written in the subset (extension?) of Clojure that Anglican is capable of CPSing.

zane21:06:43

You can't just throw any Clojure in there and expect it to work.

zane21:06:45

Playing fast and loose with terminology here.

zane21:06:49

Just trying to give you a gist.

daslu07:06:43

Thanks @U050CT4HR. Yes, this makes sense. The credit to the 'virtual machines' notion is this short paper of Tolpin et al. about Anglican: http://www.cs.ox.ac.uk/people/hongseok.yang/paper/ifl16.pdf

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