Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 35 (NeurIPS 2022) Main Conference Track

*Yihan Zhang, Nir Weinberger*

We consider a high-dimensional mean estimation problem over a binary hidden Markov model, which illuminates the interplay between memory in data, sample size, dimension, and signal strength in statistical inference. In this model, an estimator observes $n$ samples of a $d$-dimensional parameter vector $\theta_{*}\in\mathbb{R}^{d}$, multiplied by a random sign $ S_i $ ($1\le i\le n$), and corrupted by isotropic standard Gaussian noise. The sequence of signs $\{S_{i}\}_{i\in[n]}\in\{-1,1\}^{n}$ is drawn from a stationary homogeneous Markov chain with flip probability $\delta\in[0,1/2]$. As $\delta$ varies, this model smoothly interpolates two well-studied models: the Gaussian Location Model for which $\delta=0$ and the Gaussian Mixture Model for which $\delta=1/2$. Assuming that the estimator knows $\delta$, we establish a nearly minimax optimal (up to logarithmic factors) estimation error rate, as a function of $\|\theta_{*}\|,\delta,d,n$. We then provide an upper bound to the case of estimating $\delta$, assuming a (possibly inaccurate) knowledge of $\theta_{*}$. The bound is proved to be tight when $\theta_{*}$ is an accurately known constant. These results are then combined to an algorithm which estimates $\theta_{*}$ with $\delta$ unknown a priori, and theoretical guarantees on its error are stated.

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