Title: Nonparametric imputation by data depth
Authors: Julie Josse - INRIA (France) [presenting]
Pavlo Mozharovskyi - CREST-ENSAI (France)
Francois Husson - Agrocampus Rennes (France)
Abstract: A methodology for single imputation of missing values is presented which borrows the idea from data depth. This consists in iterative maximization of the depth of each observation with missing values, and can be employed with any properly defined statistical depth function. On each single iteration, imputation is narrowed down to optimization of quadratic, linear, or quasiconcave function being solved analytically, by linear programming, or the Nelder-Mead method, respectively. Being able to grasp the underlying data topology, the procedure is distribution free, allows to impute close to the data, preserves prediction possibilities different to local imputation methods (k-nearest neighbours, random forest), and has attractive robustness and asymptotic properties under elliptical symmetry. It is shown that its particular case --- when using Mahalanobis depth --- has direct connection to well known treatments for multivariate normal model, such as iterated regression or regularized PCA. The methodology is extended to the multiple imputation for data stemming from an elliptically symmetric distribution. Simulation and real data studies positively contrast the procedure with existing popular alternatives. The method has been implemented as an R-package.