Recent work by Reiss and Ogden provides a theoretical basis for sometimes preferring restricted maximum likelihood (REML) to generalized cross-validation (GCV) for smoothing parameter selection in semiparametric regression. However, existing REML or marginal likelihood (ML) based methods for semiparametric generalized linear models (GLMs) use iterative REML or ML estimation of the smoothing parameters of working linear approximations to the GLM. Such indirect schemes need not converge and fail to do so in a non-negligible proportion of practical analyses. By contrast, very reliable prediction error criteria smoothing parameter selection methods are available, based on direct optimization of GCV, or related criteria, for the GLM itself. Since such methods directly optimize properly defined functions of the smoothing parameters, they have much more reliable convergence properties. The paper develops the first such method for REML or ML estimation of smoothing parameters. A Laplace approximation is used to obtain an approximate REML or ML for any GLM, which is suitable for efficient direct optimization. This REML or ML criterion requires that Newton-Raphson iteration, rather than Fisher scoring, be used for GLM fitting, and a computationally stable approach to this is proposed. The REML or ML criterion itself is optimized by a Newton method, with the derivatives required obtained by a mixture of implicit differentiation and direct methods. The method will cope with numerical rank deficiency in the fitted model and in fact provides a slight improvement in numerical robustness on the earlier method of Wood for prediction error criteria based smoothness selection. Simulation results suggest that the new REML and ML methods offer some improvement in mean-square error performance relative to GCV or Akaike's information criterion in most cases, without the small number of severe undersmoothing failures to which Akaike's information criterion and GCV are prone. This is achieved at the same computational cost as GCV or Akaike's information criterion. The new approach also eliminates the convergence failures of previous REML-or ML-based approaches for penalized GLMs and usually has lower computational cost than these alternatives. Example applications are presented in adaptive smoothing, scalar on function regression and generalized additive model selection.
Continuously indexed Gaussian fields (GFs) are the most important ingredient in spatial statistical modelling and geostatistics. The specification through the covariance function gives an intuitive interpretation of the field properties. On the computational side, GFs are hampered with the big n problem, since the cost of factorizing dense matrices is cubic in the dimension. Although computational power today is at an all time high, this fact seems still to be a computational bottleneck in many applications. Along with GFs, there is the class of Gaussian Markov random fields (GMRFs) which are discretely indexed. The Markov property makes the precision matrix involved sparse, which enables the use of numerical algorithms for sparse matrices, that for fields in ℝ² only use the square root of the time required by general algorithms. The specification of a GMRF is through its full conditional distributions but its marginal properties are not transparent in such a parameterization. We show that, using an approximate stochastic weak solution to (linear) stochastic partial differential equations, we can, for some GFs in the Matérn class, provide an explicit link, for any triangulation of ℝ d , between GFs and GMRFs, formulated as a basis function representation. The consequence is that we can take the best from the two worlds and do the modelling by using GFs but do the computations by using GMRFs. Perhaps more importantly, our approach generalizes to other covariance functions generated by SPDEs, including oscillating and non-stationary GFs, as well as GFs on manifolds. We illustrate our approach by analysing global temperature data with a non-stationary model defined on a sphere.
Estimation of structure, such as in variable selection, graphical modelling or cluster analysis, is notoriously difficult, especially for high dimensional data. We introduce stability selection. It is based on subsampling in combination with (high dimensional) selection algorithms. As such, the method is extremely general and has a very wide range of applicability. Stability selection provides finite sample control for some error rates of false discoveries and hence a transparent principle to choose a proper amount of regularization for structure estimation. Variable selection and structure estimation improve markedly for a range of selection methods if stability selection is applied. We prove for the randomized lasso that stability selection will be variable selection consistent even if the necessary conditions for consistency of the original lasso method are violated. We demonstrate stability selection for variable selection and Gaussian graphical modelling, using real and simulated data.
Markov chain Monte Carlo and sequential Monte Carlo methods have emerged as the two main tools to sample from high dimensional probability distributions. Although asymptotic convergence of Markov chain Monte Carlo algorithms is ensured under weak assumptions, the performance of these algorithms is unreliable when the proposal distributions that are used to explore the space are poorly chosen and/or if highly correlated variables are updated independently.We show here how it is possible to build efficient high dimensional proposal distributions by using sequential Monte Carlo methods. This allows us not only to improve over standard Markov chain Monte Carlo schemes but also to make Bayesian inference feasible for a large class of statistical models where this was not previously so. We demonstrate these algorithms on a non-linear state space model and a Lévy-driven stochastic volatility model.
Structured additive regression models are perhaps the most commonly used class of models in statistical applications. It includes, among others, (generalized) linear models, (generalized) additive models, smoothing spline models, state space models, semiparametric regression, spatial and spatiotemporal models, log-Gaussian Cox processes and geostatistical and geoadditive models. We consider approximate Bayesian inference in a popular subset of structured additive regression models, latent Gaussian models, where the latent field is Gaussian, controlled by a few hyperparameters and with non-Gaussian response variables. The posterior marginals are not available in closed form owing to the non-Gaussian response variables. For such models, Markov chain Monte Carlo methods can be implemented, but they are not without problems, in terms of both convergence and computational time. In some practical applications, the extent of these problems is such that Markov chain Monte Carlo sampling is simply not an appropriate tool for routine analysis. We show that, by using an integrated nested Laplace approximation and its simplified version, we can directly compute very accurate approximations to the posterior marginals. The main benefit of these approximations is computational: where Markov chain Monte Carlo algorithms need hours or days to run, our approximations provide more precise estimates in seconds or minutes. Another advantage with our approach is its generality, which makes it possible to perform Bayesian analysis in an automatic, streamlined way, and to compute model comparison criteria and various predictive measures so that models can be compared and the model under study can be challenged.
The paper proposes Metropolis adjusted Langevin and Hamiltonian Monte Carlo sampling methods defined on the Riemann manifold to resolve the shortcomings of existing Monte Carlo algorithms when sampling from target densities that may be high dimensional and exhibit strong correlations. The methods provide fully automated adaptation mechanisms that circumvent the costly pilot runs that are required to tune proposal densities for Metropolis-Hastings or indeed Hamiltonian Monte Carlo and Metropolis adjusted Langevin algorithms. This allows for highly efficient sampling even in very high dimensions where different scalings may be required for the transient and stationary phases of the Markov chain. The methodology proposed exploits the Riemann geometry of the parameter space of statistical models and thus automatically adapts to the local structure when simulating paths across this manifold, providing highly efficient convergence and exploration of the target density. The performance of these Riemann manifold Monte Carlo methods is rigorously assessed by performing inference on logistic regression models, log-Gaussian Cox point processes, stochastic volatility models and Bayesian estimation of dynamic systems described by non-linear differential equations. Substantial improvements in the time-normalized effective sample size are reported when compared with alternative sampling approaches. MATLAB code that is available from www.ucl.ac.uk/statistics/research/rmhmc allows replication of all the results reported.
We consider the problem of estimating multiple related Gaussian graphical models from a high dimensional data set with observations belonging to distinct classes. We propose the joint graphical lasso, which borrows strength across the classes to estimate multiple graphical models that share certain characteristics, such as the locations or weights of non-zero edges. Our approach is based on maximizing a penalized log-likelihood. We employ generalized fused lasso or group lasso penalties and implement a fast alternating directions method of multipliers algorithm to solve the corresponding convex optimization problems. The performance of the method proposed is illustrated through simulated and real data examples.
A fairly general procedure is studied to perturb a multivariate density satisfying a weak form of multivariate symmetry, and to generate a whole set of non-symmetric densities. The approach is sufficiently general to encompass some recent proposals in the literature, variously related to the skew normal distribution. The special case of skew elliptical densities is examined in detail, establishing connections with existing similar work. The final part of the paper specializes further to a form of multivariate skew t-density. Likelihood inference for this distribution is examined, and it is illustrated with numerical examples.
Azzalini and Dalla Valle have recently discussed the multivariate skew normal distribution which extends the class of normal distributions by the addition of a shape parameter. The first part of the present paper examines further probabilistic properties of the distribution, with special emphasis on aspects of statistical relevance. Inferential and other statistical issues are discussed in the following part, with applications to some multivariate statistics problems, illustrated by numerical examples. Finally, a further extension is described which introduces a skewing factor of an elliptical density.
Variable selection plays an important role in high dimensional statistical modelling which nowadays appears in many areas and is key to various scientific discoveries. For problems of large scale or dimensionality p, accuracy of estimation and computational cost are two top concerns. Recently, Candes and Tao have proposed the Dantzig selector using L₁-regularization and showed that it achieves the ideal risk up to a logarithmic factor log(p). Their innovative procedure and remarkable result are challenged when the dimensionality is ultrahigh as the factor log(p) can be large and their uniform uncertainty principle can fail. Motivated by these concerns, we introduce the concept of sure screening and propose a sure screening method that is based on correlation learning, called sure independence screening, to reduce dimensionality from high to a moderate scale that is below the sample size. In a fairly general asymptotic framework, correlation learning is shown to have the sure screening property for even exponentially growing dimensionality. As a methodological extension, iterative sure independence screening is also proposed to enhance its finite sample performance. With dimension reduced accurately from high to below sample size, variable selection can be improved on both speed and accuracy, and can then be accomplished by a well-developed method such as smoothly clipped absolute deviation, the Dantzig selector, lasso or adaptive lasso. The connections between these penalized least squares methods are also elucidated.
The purpose of this paper is to propose methodologies for statistical inference of low dimensional parameters with high dimensional data. We focus on constructing confidence intervals for individual coefficients and linear combinations of several of them in a linear regression model, although our ideas are applicable in a much broader context. The theoretical results that are presented provide sufficient conditions for the asymptotic normality of the proposed estimators along with a consistent estimator for their finite dimensional covariance matrices. These sufficient conditions allow the number of variables to exceed the sample size and the presence of many small non-zero coefficients. Our methods and theory apply to interval estimation of a preconceived regression coefficient or contrast as well as simultaneous interval estimation of many regression coefficients. Moreover, the method proposed turns the regression data into an approximate Gaussian sequence of point estimators of individual regression coefficients, which can be used to select variables after proper thresholding. The simulation results that are presented demonstrate the accuracy of the coverage probability of the confidence intervals proposed as well as other desirable properties, strongly supporting the theoretical results.
The propensity score plays a central role in a variety of causal inference settings. In particular, matching and weighting methods based on the estimated propensity score have become increasingly common in the analysis of observational data. Despite their popularity and theoretical appeal, the main practical difficulty of these methods is that the propensity score must be estimated. Researchers have found that slight misspecification of the propensity score model can result in substantial bias of estimated treatment effects. We introduce covariate balancing propensity score (CBPS) methodology, which models treatment assignment while optimizing the covariate balance. The CBPS exploits the dual characteristics of the propensity score as a covariate balancing score and the conditional probability of treatment assignment. The estimation of the CBPS is done within the generalized method-of-moments or empirical likelihood framework. We find that the CBPS dramatically improves the poor empirical performance of propensity score matching and weighting methods reported in the literature. We also show that the CBPS can be extended to other important settings, including the estimation of the generalized propensity score for non-binary treatments and the generalization of experimental estimates to a target population. Open source software is available for implementing the methods proposed.
The paper deals with the estimation of a high dimensional covariance with a conditional sparsity structure and fast diverging eigenvalues. By assuming a sparse error covariance matrix in an approximate factor model, we allow for the presence of some cross-sectional correlation even after taking out common but unobservable factors. We introduce the principal orthogonal complement thresholding method 'POET' to explore such an approximate factor structure with sparsity. The POET-estimator includes the sample covariance matrix, the factor-based covariance matrix, the thresholding estimator and the adaptive thresholding estimator as specific examples. We provide mathematical insights when the factor analysis is approximately the same as the principal component analysis for high dimensional data. The rates of convergence of the sparse residual covariance matrix and the conditional sparse covariance matrix are studied under various norms. It is shown that the effect of estimating the unknown factors vanishes as the dimensionality increases. The uniform rates of convergence for the unobserved factors and their factor loadings are derived. The asymptotic results are also verified by extensive simulation studies. Finally, a real data application on portfolio allocation is presented.
Many modern statistical applications involve inference for complex stochastic models, where it is easy to simulate from the models, but impossible to calculate likelihoods. Approximate Bayesian computation (ABC) is a method of inference for such models. It replaces calculation of the likelihood by a step which involves simulating artificial data for different parameter values, and comparing summary statistics of the simulated data with summary statistics of the observed data. Here we show how to construct appropriate summary statistics for ABC in a semi-automatic manner. We aim for summary statistics which will enable inference about certain parameters of interest to be as accurate as possible. Theoretical results show that optimal summary statistics are the posterior means of the parameters. Although these cannot be calculated analytically, we use an extra stage of simulation to estimate how the posterior means vary as a function of the data; and we then use these estimates of our summary statistics within ABC. Empirical results show that our approach is a robust method for choosing summary statistics that can result in substantially more accurate ABC analyses than the ad hoc choices of summary statistics that have been proposed in the literature. We also demonstrate advantages over two alternative methods of simulation-based inference.
The essentials of our paper of 2002 are briefly summarized and compared with other criteria for model comparison. After some comments on the paper's reception and influence, we consider criticisms and proposals for improvement made by us and others.
We consider the problem of selecting grouped variables (factors) for accurate prediction in regression. Such a problem arises naturally in many practical situations with the multi-factor analysis-of-variance problem as the most important and well-known example. Instead of selecting factors by stepwise backward elimination, we focus on the accuracy of estimation and consider extensions of the lasso, the LARS algorithm and the non-negative garrotte for factor selection. The lasso, the LARS algorithm and the non-negative garrotte are recently proposed regression methods that can be used to select individual variables. We study and propose efficient algorithms for the extensions of these methods for factor selection and show that these extensions give superior performance to the traditional stepwise backward elimination method in factor selection problems. We study the similarities and the differences between these methods. Simulations and real examples are used to illustrate the methods.
Partial least squares regression has been an alternative to ordinary least squares for handling multicollinearity in several areas of scientific research since the 1960s. It has recently gained much attention in the analysis of high dimensional genomic data. We show that known asymptotic consistency of the partial least squares estimator for a univariate response does not hold with the very large ρ and small η paradigm. We derive a similar result for a multivariate response regression with partial least squares. We then propose a sparse partial least squares formulation which aims simultaneously to achieve good predictive performance and variable selection by producing sparse linear combinations of the original predictors. We provide an efficient implementation of sparse partial least squares regression and compare it with wellknown variable selection and dimension reduction approaches via simulation experiments. We illustrate the practical utility of sparse partial least squares regression in a joint analysis of gene expression and genomewide binding data.
The group lasso is an extension of the lasso to do variable selection on (predefined) groups of variables in linear regression models. The estimates have the attractive property of being invariant under groupwise orthogonal reparameterizations. We extend the group lasso to logistic regression models and present an efficient algorithm, that is especially suitable for high dimensional problems, which can also be applied to generalized linear models to solve the corresponding convex optimization problem. The group lasso estimator for logistic regression is shown to be statistically consistent even if the number of predictors is much larger than sample size but with sparse true underlying structure. We further use a two-stage procedure which aims for sparser models than the group lasso, leading to improved prediction performance for some cases. Moreover, owing to the two-stage nature, the estimates can be constructed to be hierarchical. The methods are used on simulated and real data sets about splice site detection in DNA sequences.
Determining how to select the tuning parameter appropriately is essential in penalized likelihood methods for high dimensional data analysis. We examine this problem in the setting of penalized likelihood methods for generalized linear models, where the dimensionality of covariates p is allowed to increase exponentially with the sample size n. We propose to select the tuning parameter by optimizing the generalized information criterion with an appropriate model complexity penalty. To ensure that we consistently identify the true model, a range for the model complexity penalty is identified in the generlized information criterion. We find that this model complexity penalty should diverge at the rate of some power of log(p) depending on the tail probability behaviour of the response variables. This reveals that using the Akaike information criterion or Bayes information criterion to select the tuning parameter may not be adequate for consistently identifying the true model. On the basis of our theoretical study, we propose a uniform choice of the model complexity penalty and show that the approach proposed consistently identifies the true model among candidate models with asymptotic probability 1. We justify the performance of the procedure proposed by numerical simulations and a gene expression data analysis.