Robust nonparametric hypothesis tests for differences in the covariance structure of functional data

by   Kelly Ramsay, et al.

We develop a group of robust, nonparametric hypothesis tests which detect differences between the covariance operators of several populations of functional data. These tests, called FKWC tests, are based on functional data depth ranks. These tests work well even when the data is heavy tailed, which is shown both in simulation and theoretically. These tests offer several other benefits, they have a simple distribution under the null hypothesis, they are computationally cheap and they possess transformation invariance properties. We show that under general alternative hypotheses these tests are consistent under mild, nonparametric assumptions. As a result of this work, we introduce a new functional depth function called L2-root depth which works well for the purposes of detecting differences in magnitude between covariance kernels. We present an analysis of the FKWC test using L2-root depth under local alternatives. In simulation, when the true covariance kernels have strictly positive eigenvalues, we show that these tests have higher power than their competitors, while still maintaining their nominal size. We also provide a methods for computing sample size and performing multiple comparisons.


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