Smoothing With Couplings of Conditional Particle Filters
Datasets usually provide raw data for analysis. This raw data often comes in spreadsheet form, but can be any collection of data, on which analysis can be performed.
In state–space models, smoothing refers to the task of estimating a latent stochastic process given noisy measurements related to the process. We propose an unbiased estimator of smoothing expectations. The lack-of-bias property has methodological benefits: independent estimators can be generated in parallel, and CI can be constructed from the central limit theorem to quantify the approximation error. To design unbiased estimators, we combine a generic debiasing technique for Markov chains, with a Markov chain Monte Carlo algorithm for smoothing. The resulting procedure is widely applicable and we show in numerical experiments that the removal of the bias comes at a manageable increase in variance. We establish the validity of the proposed estimators under mild assumptions. Numerical experiments are provided on toy models, including a setting of highly informative observations, and for a realistic Lotka–Volterra model with an intractable transition density. Supplementary materials for this article are available online.