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The consistency of the BIC Markov order estimator.
"... . The Bayesian Information Criterion (BIC) estimates the order of a Markov chain (with finite alphabet A) from observation of a sample path x 1 ; x 2 ; : : : ; x n , as that value k = k that minimizes the sum of the negative logarithm of the kth order maximum likelihood and the penalty term jAj ..."
Abstract

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. The Bayesian Information Criterion (BIC) estimates the order of a Markov chain (with finite alphabet A) from observation of a sample path x 1 ; x 2 ; : : : ; x n , as that value k = k that minimizes the sum of the negative logarithm of the kth order maximum likelihood and the penalty term jAj k (jAj\Gamma1) 2 log n: We show that k equals the correct order of the chain, eventually almost surely as n ! 1, thereby strengthening earlier consistency results that assumed an apriori bound on the order. A key tool is a strong ratiotypicality result for Markov sample paths. We also show that the Bayesian estimator or minimum description length estimator, of which the BIC estimator is an approximation, fails to be consistent for the uniformly distributed i.i.d. process. AMS 1991 subject classification: Primary 62F12, 62M05; Secondary 62F13, 60J10 Key words and phrases: Bayesian Information Criterion, order estimation, ratiotypicality, Markov chains. 1 Supported in part by a joint N...