Estimating absorption time distributions of general Markov jump processes

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The estimation of absorption time distributions of Markov jump processes is an important task in various branches of statistics and applied probability. While the time-homogeneous case is classic, the time-inhomogeneous case has recently received increased attention due to its added flexibility and advances in computational power. However, commuting subintensity matrices are assumed, which in various cases limits the parsimonious properties of the resulting representation. This paper develops the theory required to solve the general case through maximum likelihood estimation, and in particular, using the expectation-maximization algorithm. A reduction to a piecewise constant intensity matrix function is proposed in order to provide succinct representations, where a parametric linear model binds the intensities together. Practical aspects are discussed and illustrated through the estimation of notoriously demanding theoretical distributions and real data, from the perspective of matrix analytic methods.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Statistics
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)171-200
Publication statusPublished - 2024

ID: 368734145