Inference and Computation for Sparsely Sampled Random Surfaces

by   Tomas Masak, et al.

Non-parametric inference for functional data over two-dimensional domains entails additional computational and statistical challenges, compared to the one-dimensional case. Separability of the covariance is commonly assumed to address these issues in the densely observed regime. Instead, we consider the sparse regime, where the latent surfaces are observed only at few irregular locations with additive measurement error, and propose an estimator of covariance based on local linear smoothers. Consequently, the assumption of separability reduces the intrinsically four-dimensional smoothing problem into several two-dimensional smoothers and allows the proposed estimator to retain the classical minimax-optimal convergence rate for two-dimensional smoothers. Even when separability fails to hold, imposing it can be still advantageous as a form of regularization. A simulation study reveals a favorable bias-variance trade-off and massive speed-ups achieved by our approach. Finally, the proposed methodology is used for qualitative analysis of implied volatility surfaces corresponding to call options, and for prediction of the latent surfaces based on information from the entire data set, allowing for uncertainty quantification. Our cross-validated out-of-sample quantitative results show that the proposed methodology outperforms the common approach of pre-smoothing every implied volatility surface separately.



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