Venture

Venture Developer Alpha 0.5 Released!

Overview

Venture is a prototype general-purpose probabilistic computing platform. Venture hosts our (and in principle third-party) probabilistic applications, such as BayesDB. Venture is programmed primarily in VentureScript, but also supports applications written in other probabilistic or traditional programming languages. WARNING: Venture is rapidly evolving, alpha-quality research software. The key ideas behind its design and implementation have yet to be published, and documentation is currently sparse, although some concepts from other probabilistic programming languages apply. We are making Venture available at this early stage primarily to facilitate collaboration and support the emerging probabilistic programming community. If you want to get involved, we encourage you to both download the software and to contact us (via the venture-dev [AT] lists.csail.mit.edu mailing list); we are currently working with several collaborators in this capacity. Otherwise, we suggest you wait until our alpha phase is over.

VentureScript

VentureScript is a higher-order probabilistic programming language that aims to be sufficiently expressive, extensible, and efficient for general-purpose use. Some distinctive features include:

  • Sufficient expressiveness to handle problems and data sources from multiple fields, such as machine learning, robotics and statistics.
  • An inference programming language that supports combinations of exact and approximate inference techniques, including Metropolis-Hastings, mean field, sequential Monte Carlo, Hamiltonian Monte Carlo and gradient descent.
  • A JavaScript-like front-end syntax and a read-write textual representation of the abstract syntax dervied from Lisp
  • A flexible foreign interface that makes it straightforward to add new primitives, including higher-order probabilistic procedures, exchangeable sequences, and “likelihood free” primitives, and to equip them with custom inference schemes.
  • An interactive console that provides tools for inspection, profiling and debugging. VentureScript is also the main language for programming the Venture platform.

Releases

We recommend installing Venture using the Open Probabilistic Programming Stack. Sources of developer alpha releases are listed below.

Developer Alpha v0.5

Source Code (Python sdist tarball)
Tutorial
Reference manual

Build instructions in the README; tested on Ubuntu Trusty Tahr (14.04)
SHA256 checksum 69dc3d85b3431232cc26abcb244112ec9201ca104b684693c7454e457334a19b venture-0.5.tar.gz

Developer Alpha v0.4.2

Source Code (Python sdist tarball)
Tutorial
Reference manual

Build instructions in the README; tested on Ubuntu Trusty Tahr (14.04)
SHA256 checksum db400f2b2108832abf38be6dabef19f451df8bf400468a26f91c1279c8bee21d venture-0.4.2.tar.gz

Developer Alpha v0.4.1

Source Code (tarball)
Tutorial
Reference manual

Build instructions in the README; tested on Ubuntu Trusty Tahr (14.04)
MD5 checksum: bb86279253508e0845a6431f72d44dbe venture-0.4.1.tgz

Developer Alpha v0.4

Source Code (tarball)
Usage example
Reference manual

Build instructions in the README; tested on Ubuntu Trusty Tahr (14.04)
SHA1 checksum: 0bd94378f0254972738784a0bdda8c60bf11a679 venture-0.4.tgz