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Maximum likelihood estimation for spinal-structured trees

by   Romain Azaïs, et al.

We investigate some aspects of the problem of the estimation of birth distributions (BD) in multi-type Galton-Watson (MGW) trees with unobserved types. More precisely, we consider a two-type MGW called spinal-structured trees. This kind of tree is characterized by a spine of special individuals whose BD ν is different from the other individuals in the tree (called normal whose BD is denoted μ). In this work, we show that even in such a very structured two-types population, our ability to distinguish the two types and estimate μ and ν is constrained by a trade off between the growth-rate of the population and the similarity of μ and ν. Indeed, if the growth-rate is too large, large deviations events are likely to be observed in the sampling of the normal individuals preventing us to distinguish them from special ones. Roughly speaking, our approach succeed if r<𝔇(μ,ν) where r is the exponential growth-rate of the population and 𝔇 is a divergence measuring the dissimilarity between μ and ν.


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