Advances in Applied Probability

Analysis of a stochastic approximation algorithm for computing quasi-stationary distributions

J. Blanchet, P. Glynn, and S. Zheng

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We study the convergence properties of a Monte Carlo estimator proposed in the physics literature to compute the quasi-stationary distribution on a transient set of a Markov chain (see De Oliveira and Dickman (2005), (2006), and Dickman and Vidigal (2002)). Using the theory of stochastic approximations we verify the consistency of the estimator and obtain an associated central limit theorem. We provide an example showing that convergence might occur very slowly if a certain eigenvalue condition is violated. We alleviate this problem using an easy-to-implement projection step combined with averaging.

Article information

Adv. in Appl. Probab., Volume 48, Number 3 (2016), 792-811.

First available in Project Euclid: 19 September 2016

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Mathematical Reviews number (MathSciNet)

Zentralblatt MATH identifier

Primary: 60J22: Computational methods in Markov chains [See also 65C40]
Secondary: 60J10: Markov chains (discrete-time Markov processes on discrete state spaces)

Quasi-stationary distribution stochastic approximation Markov chain central limit theorem


Blanchet, J.; Glynn, P.; Zheng, S. Analysis of a stochastic approximation algorithm for computing quasi-stationary distributions. Adv. in Appl. Probab. 48 (2016), no. 3, 792--811.

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