Variable Selection for Kernel Two-Sample Tests

We consider the variable selection problem for two-sample tests, aiming to select the most informative features to best distinguish samples from two groups. We propose a kernel maximum mean discrepancy (MMD) framework to solve this problem and further derive its equivalent mixed-integer programming formulations for linear, quadratic, and Gaussian types of kernel functions. Our proposed framework admits advantages of both computational efficiency and nice statistical properties: (i) A closed-form solution is provided for the linear kernel case. Despite NP-hardness, we provide an exact mixed-integer semi-definite programming formulation for the quadratic kernel case, which further motivates the development of exact and approximation algorithms. We propose a convex-concave procedure that finds critical points for the Gaussian kernel case. (ii) We provide non-asymptotic uncertainty quantification of our proposed formulation under null and alternative scenarios. Experimental results demonstrate good performance of our framework.



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