Changepoint Detection over Graphs with the Spectral Scan Statistic

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James Sharpnack, Aarti Singh, Alessandro Rinaldo ;
Proceedings of the Sixteenth International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics, PMLR 31:545-553, 2013.

Abstract

We consider the change-point detection problem of deciding, based on noisy measurements, whether an unknown signal over a given graph is constant or is instead piecewise constant over two induced subgraphs of relatively low cut size. We analyze the corresponding generalized likelihood ratio (GLR) statistic and relate it to the problem of finding a sparsest cut in a graph. We develop a tractable relaxation of the GLR statistic based on the combinatorial Laplacian of the graph, which we call the spectral scan statistic, and analyze its properties. We show how its performance as a testing procedure depends directly on the spectrum of the graph, and use this result to explicitly derive its asymptotic properties on few graph topologies. Finally, we demonstrate both theoretically and by simulations that the spectral scan statistic can outperform naive testing procedures based on edge thresholding and χ^2 testing.

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