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High-Dimensional False Discovery Rate Control for Dependent Variables

Jasin MachkourMichael MumaDaniel P. Palomar
Jan 2024
Algorithms that ensure reproducible findings from large-scale, high-dimensional data are pivotal in numerous signal processing applications. In recent years, multivariate false discovery rate (FDR) controlling methods have emerged, providing guarantees even in high-dimensional settings where the number of variables surpasses the number of samples. However, these methods often fail to reliably control the FDR in the presence of highly dependent variable groups, a common characteristic in fields such as genomics and finance. To tackle this critical issue, we introduce a novel framework that accounts for general dependency structures. Our proposed dependency-aware T-Rex selector integrates hierarchical graphical models within the T-Rex framework to effectively harness the dependency structure among variables. Leveraging martingale theory, we prove that our variable penalization mechanism ensures FDR control. We further generalize the FDR-controlling framework by stating and proving a clear condition necessary for designing both graphical and non-graphical models that capture dependencies. Additionally, we formulate a fully integrated optimal calibration algorithm that concurrently determines the parameters of the graphical model and the T-Rex framework, such that the FDR is controlled while maximizing the number of selected variables. Numerical experiments and a breast cancer survival analysis use-case demonstrate that the proposed method is the only one among the state-of-the-art benchmark methods that controls the FDR and reliably detects genes that have been previously identified to be related to breast cancer. An open-source implementation is available within the R package TRexSelector on CRAN.
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