Abstract:
Item response theory models (IRT) are increasingly becoming established in social science research, particularly in the analysis of performance or attitudinal data in psychology, education, medicine, marketing and other fields where testing is relevant. We propose the R package eRm (extended Rasch modeling) for computing Rasch models and several extensions. A main characteristic of some IRT models, the Rasch model being the most prominent, concerns the separation of two kinds of parameters, one that describes qualities of the subject under investigation, and the other relates to qualities of the situation under which the response of a subject is observed. Using conditional maximum likelihood (CML) estimation both types of parameters may be estimated independently from each other. IRT models are well suited to cope with dichotomous and polytomous responses, where the response categories may be unordered as well as ordered. The incorporation of linear structures allows for modeling the effects of covariates and enables the analysis of repeated categorical measurements. The eRm package fits the following models: the Rasch model, the rating scale model (RSM), and the partial credit model (PCM) as well as linear reparameterizations through covariate structures like the linear logistic test model (LLTM), the linear rating scale model (LRSM), and the linear partial credit model (LPCM). We use an unitary, efficient CML approach to estimate the item parameters and their standard errors. Graphical and numeric tools for assessing goodness-of-fit are provided.

Abstract:
We establish the existence and uniqueness of solutions of fully nonlinear elliptic second-order equations like $H(v,Dv,D^{2}v,x)=0$ in smooth domains without requiring $H$ to be convex or concave with respect to the second-order derivatives. Apart from ellipticity nothing is required of $H$ at points at which $|D^{2}v|\leq K$, where $K$ is any given constant. For large $|D^{2}v|$ some kind of relaxed convexity assumption with respect to $D^{2}v$ mixed with a VMO condition with respect to $x$ are still imposed. The solutions are sought in Sobolev classes.

Abstract:
Splitting schemes are a class of powerful algorithms that solve complicated monotone inclusion and convex optimization problems that are built from many simpler pieces. They give rise to algorithms in which the simple pieces of the decomposition are processed individually. This leads to easily implementable and highly parallelizable algorithms, which often obtain nearly state-of-the-art performance. In this paper, we provide a comprehensive convergence rate analysis of the Douglas-Rachford splitting (DRS), Peaceman-Rachford splitting (PRS), and alternating direction method of multipliers (ADMM) algorithms under various regularity assumptions including strong convexity, Lipschitz differentiability, and bounded linear regularity. The main consequence of this work is that relaxed PRS and ADMM automatically adapt to the regularity of the problem and achieve convergence rates that improve upon the (tight) worst-case rates that hold in the absence of such regularity. All of the results are obtained using simple techniques.

Abstract:
We study the sample complexity of multiclass prediction in several learning settings. For the PAC setting our analysis reveals a surprising phenomenon: In sharp contrast to binary classification, we show that there exist multiclass hypothesis classes for which some Empirical Risk Minimizers (ERM learners) have lower sample complexity than others. Furthermore, there are classes that are learnable by some ERM learners, while other ERM learners will fail to learn them. We propose a principle for designing good ERM learners, and use this principle to prove tight bounds on the sample complexity of learning {\em symmetric} multiclass hypothesis classes---classes that are invariant under permutations of label names. We further provide a characterization of mistake and regret bounds for multiclass learning in the online setting and the bandit setting, using new generalizations of Littlestone's dimension.

Abstract:
This paper introduces a flexible Bayesian nonparametric Item Response Theory (IRT) model, which applies to dichotomous or polytomous item responses, and which can apply to either unidimensional or multidimensional scaling. This is an infinite-mixture IRT model, with person ability and item difficulty parameters, and with a random intercept parameter that is assigned a mixing distribution, with mixing weights a probit function of other person and item parameters. As a result of its flexibility, the Bayesian nonparametric IRT model can provide outlier-robust estimation of the person ability parameters and the item difficulty parameters in the posterior distribution. The estimation of the posterior distribution of the model is undertaken by standard Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) methods based on slice sampling. This mixture IRT model is illustrated through the analysis of real data obtained from a teacher preparation questionnaire, consisting of polytomous items, and consisting of other covariates that describe the examinees (teachers). For these data, the model obtains zero outliers and an R-squared of one. The paper concludes with a short discussion of how to apply the IRT model for the analysis of item response data, using menu-driven software that was developed by the author.

Abstract:
SSE (streaming SIMD extensions) and AVX (advanced vector extensions) are SIMD (single instruction multiple data streams) instruction sets supported by recent CPUs manufactured in Intel and AMD. This SIMD programming allows parallel processing by multiple cores in a single CPU. Basic arithmetic and data transfer operations such as sum, multiplication and square root can be processed simultaneously. Although popular compilers such as GNU compilers and Intel compilers provide automatic SIMD optimization options, one can obtain better performance by a manual SIMD programming with proper optimization: data packing, data reuse and asynchronous data transfer. In particular, linear algebraic operations of vectors and matrices can be easily optimized by the SIMD programming. Typical calculations in lattice gauge theory are composed of linear algebraic operations of gauge link matrices and fermion vectors, and so can adopt the manual SIMD programming to improve the performance.

Abstract:
Variance component models are generally accepted for the analysis of hierarchical structured data. A shortcoming is that outcome variables are still treated as measured without an error. Unreliable variables produce biases in the estimates of the other model parameters. The variability of the relationships across groups and the group-effects on individuals’ outcomes differ substantially when taking the measurement error in the dependent variable of the model into account. The multilevel model can be extended to handle measurement error using an item response theory (IRT) model, leading to a multilevel IRT model. This extended multilevel model is in particular suitable for the analysis of educational response data where students are nested in schools and schools are nested within cities/countries.

Abstract:
The notions of relaxed submonotone and relaxedmonotone mappings in Banach spaces are introduced and many of their properties are investigated. For example, the Clarke subdifferential of a locally Lipschitz function in a separable Banach space is relaxed submonotone on a residual subset. Forexample, it is shown that this property need not be valid on the whole space. We prove, under certain hypotheses, the surjectivity of the relaxed monotone mappings.

Abstract:
In the framework of the majorization technique, an improved condition is proposed for the semilocal convergence of the Newton method under the mild assumption that the derivative of the involved operator F(x) is continuous. Our starting point is the Argyros representation of the optimal upper bound for the distance between the adjacent members of the Newton sequence. The major novel element of our proposal is the optimally reconstructed 'first integral' approximation to the recurrence relation defining the scalar majorizing sequence. Compared to the previous results of Argyros, it enables one to obtain a weaker convergence condition that leads to a better bound on the location of the solution of the equation F(x)=0 and allows for a wider choice of initial guesses. In the simplest case of the Lipschitz continuous derivative operator, an explicit restriction is found which guarantees that the new convergence condition improves the famous Kantorovich condition.