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  1. Spectral clustering is one of the fundamental unsupervised learning methods and is widely used in data analysis. Sparse spectral clustering (SSC) imposes sparsity to the spectral clustering, and it improves the interpretability of the model. One widely adopted model for SSC in the literature is an optimization problem over the Stiefel manifold with nonsmooth and nonconvex objective. Such an optimization problem is very challenging to solve. Existing methods usually solve its convex relaxation or need to smooth its nonsmooth objective using certain smoothing techniques. Therefore, they were not targeting solving the original formulation of SSC. In this paper, we propose a manifold proximal linear method (ManPL) that solves the original SSC formulation without twisting the model. We also extend the algorithm to solve multiple-kernel SSC problems, for which an alternating ManPL algorithm is proposed. Convergence and iteration complexity results of the proposed methods are established. We demonstrate the advantage of our proposed methods over existing methods via clustering of several data sets, including University of California Irvine and single-cell RNA sequencing data sets. 
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  4. Model‐based clustering of time‐evolving networks has emerged as one of the important research topics in statistical network analysis. It is a fundamental research question to model time‐varying network parameters. However, due to difficulties in modelling functional network parameters, there is little progress in the current literature to model time‐varying network parameters effectively. In this work, we model network parameters as univariate nonparametric functions instead of constants. We effectively estimate those functional network parameters in temporal exponential‐family random graph models using a kernel regression technique and a local likelihood approach. Furthermore, we propose a semiparametric finite mixture of temporal exponential‐family random graph models by adopting finite mixture models, which simultaneously allows both modelling and detecting groups in time‐evolving networks. Also, we use a conditional likelihood to construct an effective model selection criterion and network cross‐validation to choose an optimal bandwidth. The power of our method is demonstrated in simulation studies and real‐world applications to dynamic international trade networks and dynamic arm trade networks.

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  5. Sparse principal component analysis and sparse canonical correlation analysis are two essential techniques from high-dimensional statistics and machine learning for analyzing large-scale data. Both problems can be formulated as an optimization problem with nonsmooth objective and nonconvex constraints. Because nonsmoothness and nonconvexity bring numerical difficulties, most algorithms suggested in the literature either solve some relaxations of them or are heuristic and lack convergence guarantees. In this paper, we propose a new alternating manifold proximal gradient method to solve these two high-dimensional problems and provide a unified convergence analysis. Numerical experimental results are reported to demonstrate the advantages of our algorithm. 
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  7. Abstract

    A critical task in microbiome data analysis is to explore the association between a scalar response of interest and a large number of microbial taxa that are summarized as compositional data at different taxonomic levels. Motivated by fine‐mapping of the microbiome, we propose a two‐step compositional knockoff filter to provide the effective finite‐sample false discovery rate (FDR) control in high‐dimensional linear log‐contrast regression analysis of microbiome compositional data. In the first step, we propose a new compositional screening procedure to remove insignificant microbial taxa while retaining the essential sum‐to‐zero constraint. In the second step, we extend the knockoff filter to identify the significant microbial taxa in the sparse regression model for compositional data. Thereby, a subset of the microbes is selected from the high‐dimensional microbial taxa as related to the response under a prespecified FDR threshold. We study the theoretical properties of the proposed two‐step procedure, including both sure screening and effective false discovery control. We demonstrate these properties in numerical simulation studies to compare our methods to some existing ones and show power gain of the new method while controlling the nominal FDR. The potential usefulness of the proposed method is also illustrated with application to an inflammatory bowel disease data set to identify microbial taxa that influence host gene expressions.

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  8. With recent improvements in high-volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF, known to the public as fracking), vast new reservoirs of natural gas and oil are now being tapped. As HVHF has expanded into the populous northeastern USA, some residents have become concerned about impacts on water quality. Scientists have addressed this concern by investigating individual case studies or by statistically assessing the rate of problems. In general, however, lack of access to new or historical water quality data hinders the latter assessments. We introduce a new statistical approach to assess water quality datasets – especially sets that differ in data volume and variance – and apply the technique to one region of intense shale gas development in northeastern Pennsylvania (PA) and one with fewer shale gas wells in northwestern PA. The new analysis for the intensely developed region corroborates an earlier analysis based on a different statistical test: in that area, changes in groundwater chemistry show no degradation despite that area's dense development of shale gas. In contrast, in the region with fewer shale gas wells, we observe slight but statistically significant increases in concentrations in some solutes in groundwaters. One potential explanation for the slight changes in groundwater chemistry in that area (northwestern PA) is that it is the regional focus of the earliest commercial development of conventional oil and gas (O&G) in the USA. Alternate explanations include the use of brines from conventional O&G wells as well as other salt mixtures on roads in that area for dust abatement or de-icing, respectively. 
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