The Annals of Statistics

Successive normalization of rectangular arrays

Richard A. Olshen and Bala Rajaratnam

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Standard statistical techniques often require transforming data to have mean 0 and standard deviation 1. Typically, this process of “standardization” or “normalization” is applied across subjects when each subject produces a single number. High throughput genomic and financial data often come as rectangular arrays where each coordinate in one direction concerns subjects who might have different status (case or control, say), and each coordinate in the other designates “outcome” for a specific feature, for example, “gene,” “polymorphic site” or some aspect of financial profile. It may happen, when analyzing data that arrive as a rectangular array, that one requires BOTH the subjects and the features to be “on the same footing.” Thus there may be a need to standardize across rows and columns of the rectangular matrix. There arises the question as to how to achieve this double normalization. We propose and investigate the convergence of what seems to us a natural approach to successive normalization which we learned from our colleague Bradley Efron. We also study the implementation of the method on simulated data and also on data that arose from scientific experimentation.

Article information

Ann. Statist., Volume 38, Number 3 (2010), 1638-1664.

First available in Project Euclid: 24 March 2010

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Mathematical Reviews number (MathSciNet)

Zentralblatt MATH identifier

Primary: 62H05: Characterization and structure theory 60F15: Strong theorems 60G46: Martingales and classical analysis

Normalization standardization backwards martingale convergence theorem


Olshen, Richard A.; Rajaratnam, Bala. Successive normalization of rectangular arrays. Ann. Statist. 38 (2010), no. 3, 1638--1664. doi:10.1214/09-AOS743.

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