Penalized Maximum Likelihood Estimator for Mixture of von Mises-Fisher Distributions

09/07/2020
by   Tin Lok James Ng, et al.
0

The von Mises-Fisher distribution is one of the most widely used probability distributions to describe directional data. Finite mixtures of von Mises-Fisher distributions have found numerous applications. However, the likelihood function for the finite mixture of von Mises-Fisher distributions is unbounded and consequently the maximum likelihood estimation is not well defined. To address the problem of likelihood degeneracy, we consider a penalized maximum likelihood approach whereby a penalty function is incorporated. We prove strong consistency of the resulting estimator. An Expectation-Maximization algorithm for the penalized likelihood function is developed and simulation studies are performed to examine its performance.

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