We propose a simple yet powerful framework for modeling integer-valued data, such as counts, scores, and rounded data. The data-generating process is defined by Simultaneously Transforming and Rounding (STAR) a continuous-valued process, which produces a flexible family of integer-valued distributions capable of modeling zero-inflation, bounded or censored data, and over- or underdispersion. The transformation is modeled as unknown for greater distributional flexibility, while the rounding operation ensures a coherent integer-valued data-generating process. An efficient MCMC algorithm is developed for posterior inference and provides a mechanism for adaptation of successful Bayesian models and algorithms for continuous data to the integer-valued data setting. Using the STAR framework, we design a new Bayesian Additive Regression Tree model for integer-valued data, which demonstrates impressive predictive distribution accuracy for both synthetic data and a large healthcare utilization dataset. For interpretable regression-based inference, we develop a STAR additive model, which offers greater flexibility and scalability than existing integer-valued models. The STAR additive model is applied to study the recent decline in Amazon river dolphins.
"Simultaneous transformation and rounding (STAR) models for integer-valued data." Electron. J. Statist. 14 (1) 1744 - 1772, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1214/20-EJS1707