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Title: Penalised regression for high-dimensional data : an empirical investigation and improvements via ensemble learning
Author: Wang, Fan
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2019
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In a wide range of applications, datasets are generated for which the number of variables p exceeds the sample size n. Penalised likelihood methods are widely used to tackle regression problems in these high-dimensional settings. In this thesis, we carry out an extensive empirical comparison of the performance of popular penalised regression methods in high-dimensional settings and propose new methodology that uses ensemble learning to enhance the performance of these methods. The relative efficacy of different penalised regression methods in finite-sample settings remains incompletely understood. Through a large-scale simulation study, consisting of more than 1,800 data-generating scenarios, we systematically consider the influence of various factors (for example, sample size and sparsity) on method performance. We focus on three related goals --- prediction, variable selection and variable ranking --- and consider six widely used methods. The results are supported by a semi-synthetic data example. Our empirical results complement existing theory and provide a resource to compare performance across a range of settings and metrics. We then propose a new ensemble learning approach for improving the performance of penalised regression methods, called STructural RANDomised Selection (STRANDS). The approach, that builds and improves upon the Random Lasso method, consists of two steps. In both steps, we reduce dimensionality by repeated subsampling of variables. We apply a penalised regression method to each subsampled dataset and average the results. In the first step, subsampling is informed by variable correlation structure, and in the second step, by variable importance measures from the first step. STRANDS can be used with any sparse penalised regression approach as the ``base learner''. In simulations, we show that STRANDS typically improves upon its base learner, and demonstrate that taking account of the correlation structure in the first step can help to improve the efficiency with which the model space may be explored. We propose another ensemble learning method to improve the prediction performance of Ridge Regression in sparse settings. Specifically, we combine Bayesian Ridge Regression with a probabilistic forward selection procedure, where inclusion of a variable at each stage is probabilistically determined by a Bayes factor. We compare the prediction performance of the proposed method to penalised regression methods using simulated data.
Supervisor: Richardson, Sylvia Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Penalised regression ; Lasso ; Ensemble learning ; Variable selection ; High-dimensional data