Department of Statistics Unitmark
Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences

High Dimensional Semiparametric Gaussian Copula Graphical Models

Publication Date

February, 2012

Publication Type

Tech Report


Han Liu, Fang Han, Ming Yuan, John Lafferty, Larry Wasserman


In this paper, we propose a semiparametric approach, named nonparanormal skeptic, for efficiently and robustly estimating high dimensional undirected graphical models. To achieve modeling flexibility, we consider Gaussian Copula graphical models (or the nonparanormal) as proposed by Liu et al. (2009). To achieve estimation robustness, we exploit nonparametric rank-based correlation coefficient estimators, including Spearman's rho and Kendall's tau. In high dimensional settings, we prove that the nonparanormal skeptic achieves the optimal parametric rate of convergence in both graph and parameter estimation. This celebrating result suggests that the Gaussian copula graphical models can be used as a safe replacement of the popular Gaussian graphical models, even when the data are truly Gaussian. Besides theoretical analysis, we also conduct thorough numerical simulations to compare different estimators for their graph recovery performance under both ideal and noisy settings. The proposed methods are then applied on a large-scale genomic dataset to illustrate their empirical usefulness. The R language software package huge implementing the proposed methods is available on the Comprehensive R Archive Network: