Quality and Reliability Engineering International

A Bayesian approach to sequential monitoring of nonlinear profiles using wavelets

Journal Article

Abstract We consider change‐point detection and estimation in sequences of functional observations. This setting often arises when the quality of a process is characterized by such observations, called profiles, and monitoring profiles for changes in structure can be used to ensure the stability of the process over time. While interest in phase II profile monitoring has grown, few methods approach the problem from a Bayesian perspective. We propose a wavelet‐based Bayesian methodology that bases inference on the posterior distribution of the change point without placing restrictive assumptions on the form of profiles. By obtaining an analytic form of this posterior distribution, we allow the proposed method to run online without using Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) approximation. Wavelets, an effective tool for estimating nonlinear signals from noise‐contaminated observations, enable us to flexibly distinguish between sustained changes in profiles and the inherent variability of the process. We analyze observed profiles in the wavelet domain and consider two possible prior distributions for coefficients corresponding to the unknown change in the sequence. These priors, previously applied in the nonparametric regression setting, yield tuning‐free choices of hyperparameters. We present additional considerations for controlling computational complexity over time and their effects on performance. The proposed method significantly outperforms a relevant frequentist competitor on simulated data.

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