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Methodology (stat.ME)

Mon, 22 May 2023

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1.Semi-Supervised Causal Inference: Generalizable and Double Robust Inference for Average Treatment Effects under Selection Bias with Decaying Overlap

Authors:Yuqian Zhang, Abhishek Chakrabortty, Jelena Bradic

Abstract: Average treatment effect (ATE) estimation is an essential problem in the causal inference literature, which has received significant recent attention, especially with the presence of high-dimensional confounders. We consider the ATE estimation problem in high dimensions when the observed outcome (or label) itself is possibly missing. The labeling indicator's conditional propensity score is allowed to depend on the covariates, and also decay uniformly with sample size - thus allowing for the unlabeled data size to grow faster than the labeled data size. Such a setting fills in an important gap in both the semi-supervised (SS) and missing data literatures. We consider a missing at random (MAR) mechanism that allows selection bias - this is typically forbidden in the standard SS literature, and without a positivity condition - this is typically required in the missing data literature. We first propose a general doubly robust 'decaying' MAR (DR-DMAR) SS estimator for the ATE, which is constructed based on flexible (possibly non-parametric) nuisance estimators. The general DR-DMAR SS estimator is shown to be doubly robust, as well as asymptotically normal (and efficient) when all the nuisance models are correctly specified. Additionally, we propose a bias-reduced DR-DMAR SS estimator based on (parametric) targeted bias-reducing nuisance estimators along with a special asymmetric cross-fitting strategy. We demonstrate that the bias-reduced ATE estimator is asymptotically normal as long as either the outcome regression or the propensity score model is correctly specified. Moreover, the required sparsity conditions are weaker than all the existing doubly robust causal inference literature even under the regular supervised setting - this is a special degenerate case of our setting. Lastly, this work also contributes to the growing literature on generalizability in causal inference.

2.funLOCI: a local clustering algorithm for functional data

Authors:Jacopo Di Iorio, Simone Vantini

Abstract: Nowadays, more and more problems are dealing with data with one infinite continuous dimension: functional data. In this paper, we introduce the funLOCI algorithm which allows to identify functional local clusters or functional loci, i.e., subsets/groups of functions exhibiting similar behaviour across the same continuous subset of the domain. The definition of functional local clusters leverages ideas from multivariate and functional clustering and biclustering and it is based on an additive model which takes into account the shape of the curves. funLOCI is a three-step algorithm based on divisive hierarchical clustering. The use of dendrograms allows to visualize and to guide the searching procedure and the cutting thresholds selection. To deal with the large quantity of local clusters, an extra step is implemented to reduce the number of results to the minimum.

3.Multilevel Control Functional

Authors:Kaiyu Li, Zhuo Sun

Abstract: Control variates are variance reduction techniques for Monte Carlo estimators. They can reduce the cost of the estimation of integrals involving computationally expensive scientific models. We propose an extension of control variates, multilevel control functional (MLCF), which uses non-parametric Stein-based control variates and ensembles of multifidelity models with lower cost to gain better performance. MLCF is widely applicable. We show that when the integrand and the density are smooth, and when the dimensionality is not very high, MLCF enjoys a fast convergence rate. We provide both theoretical analysis and empirical assessments on differential equation examples, including a Bayesian inference for ecological model example, to demonstrate the effectiveness of our proposed approach.

4.Fast Variational Inference for Bayesian Factor Analysis in Single and Multi-Study Settings

Authors:Blake Hansen, Alejandra Avalos-Pacheco, Massimiliano Russo, Roberta De Vito

Abstract: Factors models are routinely used to analyze high-dimensional data in both single-study and multi-study settings. Bayesian inference for such models relies on Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) methods which scale poorly as the number of studies, observations, or measured variables increase. To address this issue, we propose variational inference algorithms to approximate the posterior distribution of Bayesian latent factor models using the multiplicative gamma process shrinkage prior. The proposed algorithms provide fast approximate inference at a fraction of the time and memory of MCMC-based implementations while maintaining comparable accuracy in characterizing the data covariance matrix. We conduct extensive simulations to evaluate our proposed algorithms and show their utility in estimating the model for high-dimensional multi-study gene expression data in ovarian cancers. Overall, our proposed approaches enable more efficient and scalable inference for factor models, facilitating their use in high-dimensional settings.

5.Incorporating Subsampling into Bayesian Models for High-Dimensional Spatial Data

Authors:Sudipto Saha, Jonathan R. Bradley

Abstract: Additive spatial statistical models with weakly stationary process assumptions have become standard in spatial statistics. However, one disadvantage of such models is the computation time, which rapidly increases with the number of datapoints. The goal of this article is to apply an existing subsampling strategy to standard spatial additive models and to derive the spatial statistical properties. We call this strategy the ``spatial data subset model'' approach, which can be applied to big datasets in a computationally feasible way. Our approach has the advantage that one does not require any additional restrictive model assumptions. That is, computational gains increase as model assumptions are removed when using our model framework. This provides one solution to the computational bottlenecks that occur when applying methods such as Kriging to ``big data''. We provide several properties of this new spatial data subset model approach in terms of moments, sill, nugget, and range under several sampling designs. The biggest advantage of our approach is that it is scalable to a dataset of any size that can be stored. We present the results of the spatial data subset model approach on simulated datasets, and on a large dataset consists of 150,000 observations of daytime land surface temperatures measured by the MODIS instrument onboard the Terra satellite.