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Course# MATH-441: Robust and nonparametric statistics

Summary

In the decades from 1930 to 1950, many rank-based statistics were introduced. These methods were received with much interest, because they worked under weak conditions. Starting in the late 1950, a theory of robustness was added. The course gives an overview of these two approaches to data analysis.

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Smoothness

In mathematical analysis, the smoothness of a function is a property measured by the number of continuous derivatives it has over some domain, called differentiability class. At the very minimum, a function could be considered smooth if it is differentiable everywhere (hence continuous). At the other end, it might also possess derivatives of all orders in its domain, in which case it is said to be infinitely differentiable and referred to as a C-infinity function (or function).

U-statistic

In statistical theory, a U-statistic is a class of statistics that is especially important in estimation theory; the letter "U" stands for unbiased. In elementary statistics, U-statistics arise naturally in producing minimum-variance unbiased estimators. The theory of U-statistics allows a minimum-variance unbiased estimator to be derived from each unbiased estimator of an estimable parameter (alternatively, statistical functional) for large classes of probability distributions.

Smoothing spline

Smoothing splines are function estimates, , obtained from a set of noisy observations of the target , in order to balance a measure of goodness of fit of to with a derivative based measure of the smoothness of . They provide a means for smoothing noisy data. The most familiar example is the cubic smoothing spline, but there are many other possibilities, including for the case where is a vector quantity. Let be a set of observations, modeled by the relation where the are independent, zero mean random variables (usually assumed to have constant variance).

Asymptotic theory (statistics)

In statistics, asymptotic theory, or large sample theory, is a framework for assessing properties of estimators and statistical tests. Within this framework, it is often assumed that the sample size n may grow indefinitely; the properties of estimators and tests are then evaluated under the limit of n → ∞. In practice, a limit evaluation is considered to be approximately valid for large finite sample sizes too. Most statistical problems begin with a dataset of size n.

Spline (mathematics)

In mathematics, a spline is a special function defined piecewise by polynomials. In interpolating problems, spline interpolation is often preferred to polynomial interpolation because it yields similar results, even when using low degree polynomials, while avoiding Runge's phenomenon for higher degrees. In the computer science subfields of computer-aided design and computer graphics, the term spline more frequently refers to a piecewise polynomial (parametric) curve.