Adaptive thresholding of wavelet coefficients

Felix Abramovich*, Yoav Benjamini

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Wavelet techniques have become an attractive and efficient tool in function estimation. Given noisy data, its discrete wavelet transform is an estimator of the wavelet coefficients. It has been shown by Donoho and Johnstone (Biometrika 81 (1994) 425-455) that thresholding the estimated coefficients and then reconstructing an estimated function reduces the expected risk close to the possible minimum. They offered a global threshold λ ∼ σ√2 log n for j > j0, while the coefficients of the first coarse j0 levels are always included. We demonstrate that the choice of j0 may strongly affect the corresponding estimators. Then, we use the connection between thresholding and hypotheses testing to construct a thresholding procedure based on the false discovery rate (FDR) approach to multiple testing of Benjamini and Hochberg (J. Roy. Statist. Soc. Ser. B 57 (1995) 289-300). The suggested procedure controls the expected proportion of incorrectly included coefficients among those chosen for the wavelet reconstruction. The resulting procedure is inherently adaptive, and responds to the complexity of the estimated function and to the noise level. Finally, comparing the proposed FDR based procedure with the fixed global threshold by evaluating the relative mean-square-error across the various test-functions and noise levels, we find the FDR-estimator to enjoy robustness of MSE-efficiency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-361
Number of pages11
JournalComputational Statistics and Data Analysis
Issue number4
StatePublished - 10 Aug 1996


  • False discovery rate
  • Multiple comparison procedures
  • Nonparametric regression
  • Robust smoothing


Dive into the research topics of 'Adaptive thresholding of wavelet coefficients'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this