, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 145-158

Reparameterization strategies for hidden Markov models and Bayesian approaches to maximum likelihood estimation

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Abstract

This paper synthesizes a global approach to both Bayesian and likelihood treatments of the estimation of the parameters of a hidden Markov model in the cases of normal and Poisson distributions. The first step of this global method is to construct a non-informative prior based on a reparameterization of the model; this prior is to be considered as a penalizing and bounding factor from a likelihood point of view. The second step takes advantage of the special structure of the posterior distribution to build up a simple Gibbs algorithm. The maximum likelihood estimator is then obtained by an iterative procedure replicating the original sample until the corresponding Bayes posterior expectation stabilizes on a local maximum of the original likelihood function.