Canadian Journal of Statistics

A new family of random graphs for testing spatial segregation

Journal Article

Abstract

The authors discuss a graph‐based approach for testing spatial point patterns. This approach falls under the category of data‐random graphs, which have been introduced and used for statistical pattern recognition in recent years. The authors address specifically the problem of testing complete spatial randomness against spatial patterns of segregation or association between two or more classes of points on the plane. To this end, they use a particular type of parameterized random digraph called a proximity catch digraph (PCD) which is based on relative positions of the data points from various classes. The statistic employed is the relative density of the PCD, which is a U‐statistic when scaled properly. The authors derive the limiting distribution of the relative density, using the standard asymptotic theory of U‐statistics. They evaluate the finite‐sample performance of their test statistic by Monte Carlo simulations and assess its asymptotic performance via Pitman's asymptotic efficiency, thereby yielding the optimal parameters for testing. They further stress that their methodology remains valid for data in higher dimensions.

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