Statistica Sinica 28 (2018), 1583-1609
Abstract: We propose a nonparametric method to explicitly model and represent the derivatives of smooth underlying trajectories for longitudinal data. This representation is based on a direct Karhunen-Loève expansion of the unobserved derivatives and leads to the notion of derivative principal component analysis, which complements functional principal component analysis, one of the most popular tools of functional data analysis. The proposed derivative principal component scores can be obtained for irregularly spaced and sparsely observed longitudinal data, as typically encountered in biomedical studies, as well as for functional data which are densely measured. Novel consistency results and asymptotic convergence rates for the proposed estimates of the derivative principal component scores and other components of the model are derived under a unified scheme for sparse or dense observations and mild conditions. We compare the proposed representations for derivatives with alternative approaches in simulation settings and also in a wallaby growth curve application. It emerges that representations using the proposed derivative principal component analysis recover the underlying derivatives more accurately compared to principal component analysis-based approaches especially in settings where the functional data are represented with only a very small number of components or are densely sampled. In a second wheat spectra classification example, derivative principal component scores were found to be more predictive for the protein content of wheat than the conventional functional principal component scores.
Key words and phrases: Best linear unbiased prediction, derivatives, empirical dynamics, functional principal component analysis, growth curves.