On estimation of the diagonal elements of a sparse precision matrix

On estimation of the diagonal elements of a sparse precision matrix

Samuel Balmand    Arnak S. Dalalyan
Abstract

In this paper, we present several estimators of the diagonal elements of the inverse of the covariance matrix, called precision matrix, of a sample of independent and identically distributed random vectors. The main focus is on the case of high dimensional vectors having a sparse precision matrix. It is now well understood that when the underlying distribution is Gaussian, the columns of the precision matrix can be estimated independently form one another by solving linear regression problems under sparsity constraints. This approach leads to a computationally efficient strategy for estimating the precision matrix that starts by estimating the regression vectors, then estimates the diagonal entries of the precision matrix and, in a final step, combines these estimators for getting estimators of the off-diagonal entries. While the step of estimating the regression vector has been intensively studied over the past decade, the problem of deriving statistically accurate estimators of the diagonal entries has received much less attention. The goal of the present paper is to fill this gap by presenting four estimators—that seem the most natural ones—of the diagonal entries of the precision matrix and then performing a comprehensive empirical evaluation of these estimators. The estimators under consideration are the residual variance, the relaxed maximum likelihood, the symmetry-enforced maximum likelihood and the penalized maximum likelihood. We show, both theoretically and empirically, that when the aforementioned regression vectors are estimated without error, the symmetry-enforced maximum likelihood estimator has the smallest estimation error. However, in a more realistic setting when the regression vector is estimated by a sparsity-favoring computationally efficient method, the qualities of the estimators become relatively comparable with a slight advantage for the residual variance estimator.

Comments 0
Request Comment
You are adding the first comment!
How to quickly get a good reply:
  • Give credit where it’s due by listing out the positive aspects of a paper before getting into which changes should be made.
  • Be specific in your critique, and provide supporting evidence with appropriate references to substantiate general statements.
  • Your comment should inspire ideas to flow and help the author improves the paper.

The better we are at sharing our knowledge with each other, the faster we move forward.
""
The feedback must be of minimum 40 characters and the title a minimum of 5 characters
   
Add comment
Cancel
Loading ...
10274
This is a comment super asjknd jkasnjk adsnkj
Upvote
Downvote
""
The feedback must be of minumum 40 characters
The feedback must be of minumum 40 characters
Submit
Cancel

You are asking your first question!
How to quickly get a good answer:
  • Keep your question short and to the point
  • Check for grammar or spelling errors.
  • Phrase it like a question
Test
Test description