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Adaptive estimation and hypothesis testing methods

Dönmez, Ayça
For statistical estimation of population parameters, Fisher’s maximum likelihood estimators (MLEs) are commonly used. They are consistent, unbiased and efficient, at any rate for large n. In most situations, however, MLEs are elusive because of computational difficulties. To alleviate these difficulties, Tiku’s modified maximum likelihood estimators (MMLEs) are used. They are explicit functions of sample observations and easy to compute. They are asymptotically equivalent to MLEs and, for small n, are equally efficient. Moreover, MLEs and MMLEs are numerically very close to one another. For calculating MLEs and MMLEs, the functional form of the underlying distribution has to be known. For machine data processing, however, such is not the case. Instead, what is reasonable to assume for machine data processing is that the underlying distribution is a member of a broad class of distributions. Huber assumed that the underlying distribution is long-tailed symmetric and developed the so called M-estimators. It is very desirable for an estimator to be robust and have bounded influence function. M-estimators, however, implicitly censor certain sample observations which most practitioners do not appreciate. Tiku and Surucu suggested a modification to Tiku’s MMLEs. The new MMLEs are robust and have bounded influence functions. In fact, these new estimators are overall more efficient than M-estimators for long-tailed symmetric distributions. In this thesis, we have proposed a new modification to MMLEs. The resulting estimators are robust and have bounded influence functions. We have also shown that they can be used not only for long-tailed symmetric distributions but for skew distributions as well. We have used the proposed modification in the context of experimental design and linear regression. We have shown that the resulting estimators and the hypothesis testing procedures based on them are indeed superior to earlier such estimators and tests.