Department of Statistics Unitmark
Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Distribution Free Prediction Bands

Publication Date

March, 2012

Publication Type

Tech Report


Jing Lei, Larry Wasserman


We study distribution free, nonparametric prediction bands with a special focus on their finite sample behavior. First we investigate and develop different notions of finite sample coverage guarantees. Then we give a new prediction band estimator by combining the idea of "conformal prediction" (Vovk et al. 2009) with nonparametric conditional density estimation. The proposed estimator, called COPS (Conformal Optimized Prediction Set), always has finite sample guarantee in a stronger sense than the original conformal prediction estimator. Under regularity conditions the estimator converges to an oracle band at a minimax optimal rate. A fast approximation algorithm and a data driven method for selecting the bandwidth are developed. The method is illustrated first in simulated data. Then, an application shows that the proposed method gives desirable prediction intervals in an automatic way, as compared to the classical linear regression modeling.