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Learning Exponential Families from Truncated Samples

Jane Lee · Andre Wibisono · Emmanouil Zampetakis

Great Hall & Hall B1+B2 (level 1) #1719
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[ Paper [ Slides [ Poster [ OpenReview
Wed 13 Dec 8:45 a.m. PST — 10:45 a.m. PST


Missing data problems have many manifestations across many scientific fields. A fundamental type of missing data problem arises when samples are \textit{truncated}, i.e., samples that lie in a subset of the support are not observed. Statistical estimation from truncated samples is a classical problem in statistics which dates back to Galton, Pearson, and Fisher. A recent line of work provides the first efficient estimation algorithms for the parameters of a Gaussian distribution and for linear regression with Gaussian noise.In this paper we generalize these results to log-concave exponential families. We provide an estimation algorithm that shows that \textit{extrapolation} is possible for a much larger class of distributions while it maintains a polynomial sample and time complexity on average. Our algorithm is based on Projected Stochastic Gradient Descent and is not only applicable in a more general setting but is also simpler and more efficient than recent algorithms. Our work also has interesting implications for learning general log-concave distributions and sampling given only access to truncated data.

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