NIPS Proceedingsβ

Efficient Nonparametric Smoothness Estimation

Part of: Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 29 (NIPS 2016)

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Conference Event Type: Poster


Sobolev quantities (norms, inner products, and distances) of probability density functions are important in the theory of nonparametric statistics, but have rarely been used in practice, partly due to a lack of practical estimators. They also include, as special cases, L^2 quantities which are used in many applications. We propose and analyze a family of estimators for Sobolev quantities of unknown probability density functions. We bound the finite-sample bias and variance of our estimators, finding that they are generally minimax rate-optimal. Our estimators are significantly more computationally tractable than previous estimators, and exhibit a statistical/computational trade-off allowing them to adapt to computational constraints. We also draw theoretical connections to recent work on fast two-sample testing and empirically validate our estimators on synthetic data.