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Using Perturbation to Improve Goodness-of-Fit Tests based on Kernelized Stein Discrepancy

Xing Liu · Andrew Duncan · Axel Gandy

Exhibit Hall 1 #537
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Kernelized Stein discrepancy (KSD) is a score-based discrepancy widely used in goodness-of-fit tests. It can be applied even when the target distribution has an unknown normalising factor, such as in Bayesian analysis. We show theoretically and empirically that the KSD test can suffer from low power when the target and the alternative distributions have the same well-separated modes but differ in mixing proportions. We propose to perturb the observed sample via Markov transition kernels, with respect to which the target distribution is invariant. This allows us to then employ the KSD test on the perturbed sample. We provide numerical evidence that with suitably chosen transition kernels the proposed approach can lead to substantially higher power than the KSD test.

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