Do we need to estimate the variance in robust mean estimation?

06/30/2021 ∙ by Qiang Sun, et al. ∙ 0

This paper studies robust mean estimators for distributions with only finite variances. We propose a new loss function that is a function of the mean parameter and a robustification parameter. By simultaneously optimizing the empirical loss with respect to both parameters, we show that the resulting estimator for the robustification parameter can automatically adapt to the data and the unknown variance. Thus the resulting mean estimator can achieve near-optimal finite-sample performance. Compared with prior work, our method is computationally efficient and user-friendly. It does not need cross-validation to tune the robustification parameter.

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