A compound decision approach to covariance matrix estimation

Huiqin Xin, Sihai Dave Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Covariance matrix estimation is a fundamental statistical task in many applications, but the sample covariance matrix is suboptimal when the sample size is comparable to or less than the number of features. Such high-dimensional settings are common in modern genomics, where covariance matrix estimation is frequently employed as a method for inferring gene networks. To achieve estimation accuracy in these settings, existing methods typically either assume that the population covariance matrix has some particular structure, for example, sparsity, or apply shrinkage to better estimate the population eigenvalues. In this paper, we study a new approach to estimating high-dimensional covariance matrices. We first frame covariance matrix estimation as a compound decision problem. This motivates defining a class of decision rules and using a nonparametric empirical Bayes g-modeling approach to estimate the optimal rule in the class. Simulation results and gene network inference in an RNA-seq experiment in mouse show that our approach is comparable to or can outperform a number of state-of-the-art proposals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalBiometrics
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • compound decision theory
  • g-modeling
  • nonparametric maximum likelihood
  • separable decision rule

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Applied Mathematics

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