arXiv: Quantitative Methods | VOL. 17
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Maximum Entropy Estimation of Probability Distribution of Variables in Higher Dimensions from Lower Dimensional Data.

Publication Date Jul 1, 2015

Abstract

A common statistical situation concerns inferring an unknown distribution Q(x) from a known distribution P(y), where X (dimension n), and Y (dimension m) have a known functional relationship. Most commonly, n ≤ m, and the task is relatively straightforward for well-defined functional relationships. For example, if Y1 and Y2 are independent random variables, each uniform on [0, 1], one can determine the distribution of X = Y1 + Y2; here m = 2 and n = 1. However, biological and physical situations can arise where n > m and the functional relation Y→X is non-unique. In general, in the absence of additional information, there is no unique solution to Q in those cases. Nevertheless, one may still want to draw some inferences about Q. To this end, we propose a novel maximum entropy (MaxEnt) approach that estimates Q(x) based only on the available data, namely, P(y). The method has the additional advantage that one does not need to explicitly calculate the Lagrange multipliers. In this paper we develop the approach, for both discrete and continuous probability distributions, and demonstrate its validity. We give an intuitive justification as well, and we illustrate with examples.

Concepts

Independent Random Variables Maximum Entropy Continuous Probability Distributions Lagrange Multipliers Lower Dimensional Data Intuitive Justification Probability Distribution Entropy Unknown Distribution Physical Situations

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