Statistical analysis of high dimensional data

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Ruan, Lingyan
Yuan, Ming
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This century is surely the century of data (Donoho, 2000). Data analysis has been an emerging activity over the last few decades. High dimensional data is in particular more and more pervasive with the advance of massive data collection system, such as microarrays, satellite imagery, and financial data. However, analysis of high dimensional data is of challenge with the so called curse of dimensionality (Bellman 1961). This research dissertation presents several methodologies in the application of high dimensional data analysis. The first part discusses a joint analysis of multiple microarray gene expressions. Microarray analysis dates back to Golub et al. (1999). It draws much attention after that. One common goal of microarray analysis is to determine which genes are differentially expressed. These genes behave significantly differently between groups of individuals. However, in microarray analysis, there are thousands of genes but few arrays (samples, individuals) and thus relatively low reproducibility remains. It is natural to consider joint analyses that could combine microarrays from different experiments effectively in order to achieve improved accuracy. In particular, we present a model-based approach for better identification of differentially expressed genes by incorporating data from different studies. The model can accommodate in a seamless fashion a wide range of studies including those performed at different platforms, and/or under different but overlapping biological conditions. Model-based inferences can be done in an empirical Bayes fashion. Because of the information sharing among studies, the joint analysis dramatically improves inferences based on individual analysis. Simulation studies and real data examples are presented to demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed approach under a variety of complications that often arise in practice. The second part is about covariance matrix estimation in high dimensional data. First, we propose a penalised likelihood estimator for high dimensional t-distribution. The student t-distribution is of increasing interest in mathematical finance, education and many other applications. However, the application in t-distribution is limited by the difficulty in the parameter estimation of the covariance matrix for high dimensional data. We show that by imposing LASSO penalty on the Cholesky factors of the covariance matrix, EM algorithm can efficiently compute the estimator and it performs much better than other popular estimators. Secondly, we propose an estimator for high dimensional Gaussian mixture models. Finite Gaussian mixture models are widely used in statistics thanks to its great flexibility. However, parameter estimation for Gaussian mixture models with high dimensionality can be rather challenging because of the huge number of parameters that need to be estimated. For such purposes, we propose a penalized likelihood estimator to specifically address such difficulties. The LASSO penalty we impose on the inverse covariance matrices encourages sparsity on its entries and therefore helps reducing the dimensionality of the problem. We show that the proposed estimator can be efficiently computed via an Expectation-Maximization algorithm. To illustrate the practical merits of the proposed method, we consider its application in model-based clustering and mixture discriminant analysis. Numerical experiments with both simulated and real data show that the new method is a valuable tool in handling high dimensional data. Finally, we present structured estimators for high dimensional Gaussian mixture models. The graphical representation of every cluster in Gaussian mixture models may have the same or similar structure, which is an important feature in many applications, such as image processing, speech recognition and gene network analysis. Failure to consider the sharing structure would deteriorate the estimation accuracy. To address such issues, we propose two structured estimators, hierarchical Lasso estimator and group Lasso estimator. An EM algorithm can be applied to conveniently solve the estimation problem. We show that when clusters share similar structures, the proposed estimator perform much better than the separate Lasso estimator.
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