Hi Everyone!

I recently finished my masters degree, during which I developed a probabilistic programming language called SlicStan, which compiles to Stan. In short, its syntax is very similar to Stan, but does not have program blocks (the block a variable belongs to is deduced automatically). This also allows for more flexible user-defined functions that declare new parameters. For example, the non-centered Neal’s funnel model from page 338 of the manual can be written as follows:

def non_centered_normal(real m, real s) {
    real x_raw ~ normal(0, 1);
    return s * x_raw + m;

real y = non_centered_normal(0, 3);
real x = non_centered_normal(0, exp(y/2));

Here is a link to the full dissertation (see Chapter 5 for examples):

I will very much appreciate any thoughts you have on this!

The post is also a follow up on this recent discussion:


Well done!


Very nice @mgorinova! I see that you’re in a CDT. Does that mean you’re continuing in this vein? Random fact: Edinburgh is @Bob_Carpenter’s old stomping ground!


Thank you, Ben and Daniel! Yes, I am starting the PhD part of the program now. I don’t have a concrete topic yet, but it will definitely be probabilistic programming related, and it’s likely to involve Stan in some way.


And by “old,” he means 30 years ago! I was there '84–'87 doing my Ph.D. in cog sci/comp sci (now all rolled into Informatics); it took me another year to write my dissertation up back in the U.S.


The temptation to sing the KLF’s Justified and Ancient at you when next we meet is strong.


Found it myself on YouTube to continue off topic.