Spatially adaptive Bayesian penalized regression splines (P-splines) Academic Article uri icon


  • In this article we study penalized regression splines (P-splines), which are low-order basis splines with a penalty to avoid undersmoothing. Such P-splines are typically not spatially adaptive, and hence can have trouble when functions are varying rapidly. Our approach is to model the penalty parameter inherent in the P-spline method as a heteroscedastic regression function. We develop a full Bayesian hierarchical structure to do this and use Markov chain Monte Carlo techniques for drawing random samples from the posterior for inference. The advantage of using a Bayesian approach to P-splines is that it allows for simultaneous estimation of the smooth functions and the underlying penalty curve in addition to providing uncertainty intervals of the estimated curve. The Bayesian credible intervals obtained for the estimated curve are shown to have pointwise coverage probabilities close to nominal. The method is extended to additive models with simultaneous spline-based penalty functions for the unknown functions. In simulations, the approach achieves very competitive performance with the current best frequentist P-spline method in terms of frequentist mean squared error and coverage probabilities of the credible intervals, and performs better than some of the other Bayesian methods. 2005 American Statistical Association, Institute of Mathematical Statistics, and Interface Foundation of North America.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Baladandayuthapani, V., Mallick, B. K., & Carroll, R. J.

citation count

  • 55

complete list of authors

  • Baladandayuthapani, V||Mallick, BK||Carroll, RJ

publication date

  • June 2005