Phase Transitions of the Maximum Likelihood Estimates in the p-Spin Curie-Weiss Model

by   Somabha Mukherjee, et al.

In this paper we consider the problem of parameter estimation in the p-spin Curie-Weiss model, for p ≥ 3. We provide a complete description of the limiting properties of the maximum likelihood (ML) estimates of the inverse temperature and the magnetic field given a single realization from the p-spin Curie-Weiss model, complementing the well-known results in the 2-spin case (Comets and Gidas (1991)). Our results unearth various new phase transitions and surprising limit theorems, such as the existence of a 'critical' curve in the parameter space, where the limiting distribution of the ML estimates is a mixture with both continuous and discrete components. The number of mixture components is either two or three, depending on, among other things, the sign of one of the parameters and the parity of p. Another interesting revelation is the existence of certain 'special' points in the parameter space where the ML estimates exhibit a superefficiency phenomenon, converging to a non-Gaussian limiting distribution at rate N^3/4. As a consequence of our analysis, we obtain limit theorems for the average magnetization, results which are of independent interest, that provide key insights into the thermodynamic properties of the model.


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