On the concept of depth for functional data
Juan Romo and
Sara López Pintado
DES - Working Papers. Statistics and Econometrics. WS from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Estadística
The statistical analysis of functional data is a growing need in many research areas. We propose a new depth notion for functional observations based on the graphic representation of the curves. Given a collection of functions, it allows to establish the centrality of a function and provides a natural center-outward ordering of the sample curves. Robust statistics such as the median function or a trimmed mean function can be defined from this depth definition. Its finite-dimensional version provides a new depth for multivariate data that is computationally very fast and turns out to be convenient to study high-dimensional observations. The natural properties are established for the new depth and the uniform consistency of the sample depth is proved. Simulation results show that the trimmed mean presents a better behavior than the mean for contaminated models. Several real data sets are considered to illustrate this new concept of depth. Finally, we use this new depth to generalize to functions the Wilcoxon rank sum test. It allows to decide whether two groups of curves come from the same population. This functional rank test is applied to girls and boys growth curves concluding that they present different growth patterns.
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