Title: Second order Stein: SURE for SURE and other applications in high-dimensional inference
Authors: Pierre Bellec - Rutgers (United States) [presenting]
Abstract: Stein's formula states that a random variable of the form $z^Tf(z)div f(z)$ is mean-zero for all functions $f$ with integrable gradient, where $div f$ is the divergence of the function $f$ and $z$ is a standard normal vector. A Second Order Stein formula is proposed to characterize the variance of such random variables. In the Gaussian sequence model, a remarkable consequence of Stein's formula is Stein's Unbiased Risk Estimate (SURE) of the mean square risk of almost any given estimator for the unknown mean vector. A first application of the Second Order Stein formula is an Unbiased Risk Estimate of the risk of SURE itself (SURE for SURE): a simple unbiased estimate provides information about the squared distance between SURE and the squared estimation error. SURE for SURE has a simple form and can be computed explicitly for differentiable estimator, for example the Lasso and the Elastic Net. Other applications of the Second Order Stein formula are provided in high-dimensional regression. This includes novel bounds on the variance of the size of the model selected by the Lasso, and a general semi-parametric scheme to de-bias an almost differentiable initial estimator in order to estimate a low-dimensional projection of the unknown regression coefficient vector.