Sequential kernelized independence testing


Independence testing is a fundamental and classical statistical problem that has been extensively studied in the batch setting when one fixes the sample size before collecting data. However, practitioners often prefer procedures that adapt to the complexity of a problem at hand instead of setting sample size in advance. Ideally, such procedures should (a) allow stopping earlier on easy tasks (and later on harder tasks), hence making better use of available resources, and (b) continuously monitor the data and efficiently incorporate statistical evidence after collecting new data, while controlling the false alarm rate. It is well known that classical batch tests are not tailored for streaming data settings, since valid inference after data peeking requires correcting for multiple testing, but such corrections generally result in low power. In this paper, we design sequential kernelized independence tests (SKITs) that overcome such shortcomings based on the principle of testing by betting. We exemplify our broad framework using bets inspired by kernelized dependence measures such as the Hilbert-Schmidt independence criterion (HSIC) and the constrained-covariance criterion (COCO). Importantly, we also generalize the framework to non-i.i.d. time-varying settings, for which there exist no batch tests. We demonstrate the power of our approaches on both simulated and real data.

In preparation for submission