Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 29 (NIPS 2016)
Alnur Ali, J. Zico Kolter, Ryan J. Tibshirani
We introduce the Multiple Quantile Graphical Model (MQGM), which extends the neighborhood selection approach of Meinshausen and Buhlmann for learning sparse graphical models. The latter is defined by the basic subproblem of modeling the conditional mean of one variable as a sparse function of all others. Our approach models a set of conditional quantiles of one variable as a sparse function of all others, and hence offers a much richer, more expressive class of conditional distribution estimates. We establish that, under suitable regularity conditions, the MQGM identifies the exact conditional independencies with probability tending to one as the problem size grows, even outside of the usual homoskedastic Gaussian data model. We develop an efficient algorithm for fitting the MQGM using the alternating direction method of multipliers. We also describe a strategy for sampling from the joint distribution that underlies the MQGM estimate. Lastly, we present detailed experiments that demonstrate the flexibility and effectiveness of the MQGM in modeling hetereoskedastic non-Gaussian data.