Data Structures for Density Estimation
Proceedings of the 40th International Conference on Machine Learning, PMLR 202:1-18, 2023.
We study statistical/computational tradeoffs for the following density estimation problem: given $k$ distributions $v_1, \ldots, v_k$ over a discrete domain of size $n$, and sampling access to a distribution $p$, identify $v_i$ that is "close" to $p$. Our main result is the first data structure that, given a sublinear (in $n$) number of samples from $p$, identifies $v_i$ in time sublinear in $k$. We also give an improved version of the algorithm of Acharya et al. (2018) that reports $v_i$ in time linear in $k$. The experimental evaluation of the latter algorithm shows that it achieves a significant reduction in the number of operations needed to achieve a given accuracy compared to prior work.