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Density Estimation in Infinite Dimensional Exponential Families

Bharath Sriperumbudur, Kenji Fukumizu, Arthur Gretton, Aapo Hyv\"{a}rinen, Revant Kumar; 18(57):1−59, 2017.


In this paper, we consider an infinite dimensional exponential family $\mathcal{P}$ of probability densities, which are parametrized by functions in a reproducing kernel Hilbert space $\mathcal{H}$, and show it to be quite rich in the sense that a broad class of densities on $\mathbb{R}^d$ can be approximated arbitrarily well in Kullback-Leibler (KL) divergence by elements in $\mathcal{P}$. Motivated by this approximation property, the paper addresses the question of estimating an unknown density $p_0$ through an element in $\mathcal{P}$. Standard techniques like maximum likelihood estimation (MLE) or pseudo MLE (based on the method of sieves), which are based on minimizing the KL divergence between $p_0$ and $\mathcal{P}$, do not yield practically useful estimators because of their inability to efficiently handle the log-partition function. We propose an estimator $\hat{p}_n$ based on minimizing the Fisher divergence, $J(p_0\Vert p)$ between $p_0$ and $p\in \mathcal{P}$, which involves solving a simple finite-dimensional linear system. When $p_0\in\mathcal{P}$, we show that the proposed estimator is consistent, and provide a convergence rate of $n^{-\min\left\{\frac{2}{3},\frac{2\beta+1}{2\beta+2}\right\}}$ in Fisher divergence under the smoothness assumption that $\log p_0\in\mathcal{R}(C^\beta)$ for some $\beta\ge 0$, where $C$ is a certain Hilbert-Schmidt operator on $\mathcal{H}$ and $\mathcal{R}(C^\beta)$ denotes the image of $C^\beta$. We also investigate the misspecified case of $p_0\notin\mathcal{P}$ and show that $J(p_0\Vert\hat{p}_n)\rightarrow \inf_{p\in\mathcal{P}}J(p_0\Vert p)$ as $n\rightarrow \infty$, and provide a rate for this convergence under a similar smoothness condition as above. Through numerical simulations we demonstrate that the proposed estimator outperforms the non- parametric kernel density estimator, and that the advantage of the proposed estimator grows as $d$ increases.

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