On the Efficient Implementation of High Accuracy Optimality of Profile Maximum Likelihood

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 35 (NeurIPS 2022) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Moses Charikar, Zhihao Jiang, Kirankumar Shiragur, Aaron Sidford


We provide an efficient unified plug-in approach for estimating symmetric properties of distributions given $n$ independent samples. Our estimator is based on profile-maximum-likelihood (PML) and is sample optimal for estimating various symmetric properties when the estimation error $\epsilon \gg n^{-1/3}$. This result improves upon the previous best accuracy threshold of $\epsilon \gg n^{-1/4}$ achievable by polynomial time computable PML-based universal estimators \cite{ACSS20, ACSS20b}. Our estimator reaches a theoretical limit for universal symmetric property estimation as \cite{Han20} shows that a broad class of universal estimators (containing many well known approaches including ours) cannot be sample optimal for every $1$-Lipschitz property when $\epsilon \ll n^{-1/3}$.