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Minimum Rates of Approximate Sufficient Statistics [IT-Forum]

Minimum Rates of Approximate Sufficient Statistics
Monday, April 17, 2017 - 1:15pm
Packard 202
Vincent Y. F. Tan (National University of Singapore)
Abstract / Description: 

Given a sufficient statistic for a parametric family of distributions, one can estimate the parameter without access to the data itself but by using a sufficient statistic. However, the memory size for storing the sufficient statistic may be prohibitive. Indeed, for $n$ independent data samples drawn from a $k$-nomial distribution with $d=k-1$ degrees of freedom, the length of the code scales as $d\log n+O(1)$. In many applications though, we may not have a useful notion of sufficient statistics and also may not need to reconstruct the generating distribution exactly. By adopting an information-theoretic approach in which we consider allow a small error in estimating the generating distribution, we construct various notions of {\em approximate sufficient statistics} and show that the code length can be reduced to $\frac{d}{2}\log n + O(1)$. We consider errors measured according to the relative entropy and variational distance criteria. For the code construction parts, we leverage Rissanen's minimum description length principle, which yields a non-vanishing error measured using the relative entropy. For the converse parts, we use Clarke and Barron's asymptotic expansion for the relative entropy of a parametrized distribution and the corresponding mixture distribution. The limitation of this method is that only a weak converse for the variational distance can be shown. We develop new techniques to achieve vanishing errors and we also prove strong converses for all our statements. The latter means that even if the code is allowed to have a non-vanishing error, its length must still be at least $\frac{d}{2}\log n$.

This is joint work with Prof. Masahito Hayashi (Graduate School of Mathematics, Nagoya University and Center for Quantum Technologies, NUS


The Information Theory Forum (IT-Forum) at Stanford ISL is an interdisciplinary academic forum which focuses on mathematical aspects of information processing. With a primary emphasis on information theory, we also welcome researchers from signal processing, learning and statistical inference, control and optimization to deliver talks at our forum. We also warmly welcome industrial affiliates in the above fields. The forum is typically held in Packard 202 every Friday at 1:00 pm during the academic year.

The Information Theory Forum is organized by graduate students Jiantao Jiao and Yanjun Han. To suggest speakers, please contact any of the students.


Vincent Tan is an assistant professor in the ECE and Math department at NUS.