The bulk of the talk will focus on a class of “permutation-based” models, which present a flexible alternative to parametric modeling in a host of inference problems involving data generated by people. I introduce a set of algorithmic tools that handles structured missing data and breaks a conjectured computational barrier, demonstrating that carefully chosen non-parametric structure can significantly improve robustness to mis-specification while maintaining interpretability. To conclude the talk, I draw on this perspective to study two vignettes in high-dimensional regression and reinforcement learning. A focus on exploiting structure in these contexts leads to novel statistical as well as algorithmic insight.
Discovery Building, Orchard View Room