Partially linear additive quantile regression in ultra-high dimension

Ben Sherwood, Lan Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


We consider a flexible semiparametric quantile regression model for analyzing high dimensional heterogeneous data. This model has several appealing features: (1) By considering different conditional quantiles, we may obtain a more complete picture of the conditional distribution of a response variable given high dimensional covariates. (2) The sparsity level is allowed to be different at different quantile levels. (3) The partially linear additive structure accommodates nonlinearity and circumvents the curse of dimensionality. (4) It is naturally robust to heavy-tailed distributions. In this paper, we approximate the nonlinear components using B-spline basis functions. We first study estimation under this model when the nonzero components are known in advance and the number of covariates in the linear part diverges. We then investigate a nonconvex penalized estimator for simultaneous variable selection and estimation. We derive its oracle property for a general class of nonconvex penalty functions in the presence of ultra-high dimensional covariates under relaxed conditions. To tackle the challenges of nonsmooth loss function, nonconvex penalty function and the presence of nonlinear components, we combine a recently developed convex-differencing method with modern empirical process techniques. Monte Carlo simulations and an application to a microarray study demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed method. We also discuss how the method for a single quantile of interest can be extended to simultaneous variable selection and estimation at multiple quantiles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)288-317
Number of pages30
JournalAnnals of Statistics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Supported in part by NSF Grant DMS-13-08960. We thank the Editor, the Associate Editor and the anonymous referees for their careful reading and constructive comments which have helped us to significantly improve the paper.

Publisher Copyright:
© Institute of Mathematical Statistics, 2016.


  • High dimensional data
  • Nonconvex penalty
  • Partial linear
  • Quantile regression
  • Variable selection


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