A Geometric Unification of Distributionally Robust Covariance Estimators: Shrinking the Spectrum by Inflating the Ambiguity Set

The state-of-the-art methods for estimating high-dimensional covariance matrices all shrink the eigenvalues of the sample covariance matrix towards a data-insensitive shrinkage target. The underlying shrinkage transformation is either chosen heuristically – without compelling theoretical justification – or optimally in view of restrictive distributional assumptions. In this paper, we propose a principled approach to construct covariance … Read more

Frequency regulation with storage: On losses and profits

Low-carbon societies will need to store vast amounts of electricity to balance intermittent generation from wind and solar energy, for example, through frequency regulation. Here, we derive an analytical solution to the decision-making problem of storage operators who sell frequency regulation power to grid operators and trade electricity on day-ahead markets. Mathematically, we treat future … Read more

End-to-End Learning for Stochastic Optimization: A Bayesian Perspective

We develop a principled approach to end-to-end learning in stochastic optimization. First, we show that the standard end-to-end learning algorithm admits a Bayesian interpretation and trains a posterior Bayes action map. Building on the insights of this analysis, we then propose new end-to-end learning algorithms for training decision maps that output solutions of empirical risk … Read more

Distributionally Robust Linear Quadratic Control

Linear-Quadratic-Gaussian (LQG) control is a fundamental control paradigm that is studied in various fields such as engineering, computer science, economics, and neuroscience. It involves controlling a system with linear dynamics and imperfect observations, subject to additive noise, with the goal of minimizing a quadratic cost function for the state and control variables. In this work, … Read more

Distributionally Robust Optimal Allocation with Costly Verification

We consider the mechanism design problem of a principal allocating a single good to one of several agents without monetary transfers. Each agent desires the good and uses it to create value for the principal. We designate this value as the agent’s private type. Even though the principal does not know the agents’ types, she … Read more

On Approximations of Data-Driven Chance Constrained Programs over Wasserstein Balls

Distributionally robust chance constrained programs minimize a deterministic cost function subject to the satisfaction of one or more safety conditions with high probability, given that the probability distribution of the uncertain problem parameters affecting the safety condition(s) is only known to belong to some ambiguity set. We study two popular approximation schemes for distributionally robust … Read more

Metrizing Fairness

We study supervised learning problems for predicting properties of individuals who belong to one of two demographic groups, and we seek predictors that are fair according to statistical parity. This means that the distributions of the predictions within the two groups should be close with respect to the Kolmogorov distance, and fairness is achieved by … Read more

Discrete Optimal Transport with Independent Marginals is #P-Hard

We study the computational complexity of the optimal transport problem that evaluates the Wasserstein distance between the distributions of two K-dimensional discrete random vectors. The best known algorithms for this problem run in polynomial time in the maximum of the number of atoms of the two distributions. However, if the components of either random vector … Read more

Mean-Covariance Robust Risk Measurement

We introduce a universal framework for mean-covariance robust risk measurement and portfolio optimization. We model uncertainty in terms of the Gelbrich distance on the mean-covariance space, along with prior structural information about the population distribution. Our approach is related to the theory of optimal transport and exhibits superior statistical and computational properties than existing models. … Read more

Distributionally Robust Optimization with Markovian Data

We study a stochastic program where the probability distribution of the uncertain problem parameters is unknown and only indirectly observed via finitely many correlated samples generated by an unknown Markov chain with d states. We propose a data-driven distributionally robust optimization model to estimate the problem’s objective function and optimal solution. By leveraging results from … Read more