Communication-efficient Distributed Estimation and Inference for Transelliptical Graphical Models

We propose communication-efficient distributed estimation and inference methods for the transelliptical graphical model, a semiparametric extension of the elliptical distribution in the high dimensional regime. In detail, the proposed method distributes the $d$-dimensional data of size $N$ generated from a transelliptical graphical model into $m$ worker machines, and estimates the latent precision matrix on each worker machine based on the data of size $n=N/m$. It then debiases the local estimators on the worker machines and send them back to the master machine. Finally, on the master machine, it aggregates the debiased local estimators by averaging and hard thresholding. We show that the aggregated estimator attains the same statistical rate as the centralized estimator based on all the data, provided that the number of machines satisfies $m \lesssim \min\{N\log d/d,\sqrt{N/(s^2\log d)}\}$, where $s$ is the maximum number of nonzero entries in each column of the latent precision matrix. It is worth noting that our algorithm and theory can be directly applied to Gaussian graphical models, Gaussian copula graphical models and elliptical graphical models, since they are all special cases of transelliptical graphical models. Thorough experiments on synthetic data back up our theory.

Comments: 42 pages, 3 figures, 4 tables. This work has been presented at the ENAR 2016 Spring Meeting on March 8, 2016

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