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STICERD Econometrics Seminar Series

Statistical Theory and Algorithms for Machine Learning of Conditional Distribution Functions

Richard Spady (University of Oxford), joint with Sami Stouli, University of Bristol

Thursday 14 February 2019 14:00 - 15:30

Many of our seminars and public events this year will continue as in person or as hybrid (online and in person) events. Please check our website listings and Twitter feed @STICERD_LSE for updates.

Unless otherwise specified, in-person seminars are open to the public.

Those unable to join the seminars in-person are welcome to participate via zoom if the event is hybrid.

About this event

We propose an algorithm for machine learning of conditional distribution functions for a dependent variable (Y ) with continuous support. The algorithm produces a complete description of the conditional distribution function at all observed points in the covariate (X) space, and provides a similar estimate for other possible covariate values. The descriptions it provides are quite general and are globally valid conditional densities. The algorithm is multi-layered and feed-forward. Each layer has the same statistical interpretation: Layer k takes a vector e(k-1)that is nearly perfectly marginally Gaussian and makes it more marginally Gaussian and more independent of X. It does this by applying a continuous monotonic transformation that varies depending on an observation’s X value. Each layer is estimated by an elastic net regularization of maximum likelihood. We demonstrate Wilks’ phenomenon for the composite algorithm and show how to calculate the algorithm’s effective dimension.

STICERD Econometrics seminars are held on Thursdays in term time at 14.00-15.30, ONLINE, unless specified otherwise.

Seminar organisers: Professor Tai Otsu and Dr. Vassilis Hajivassiliou.

For further information please contact Lubala Chibwe, either by email:

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