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I encountered the following problem (I give more details of the problem at the end of the post) and I am trying to figure out the best way of performing a null hypothesis testing. I looked for similar questions (like this) but it does not fit exactly my problem.

I have a random vector $X = (X_1,...,X_N)$ of $N$ random binary variables, not necessarily independent and non identically distributed. These $N$ variables are divided into two subsets: $A$ with $N_A$ random variables and $B$ with $N_B$ variables ($N_A + N_B = N$), so I can also write $X = (X_A,X_B)$. I know the marginal distribution of each of the binary variables, as well as the first and second moments of the random vector.

Now I consider another random vector $Y = (Y_1,...,Y_N) = (Y_A, Y_B)$, from which I can only sample in two steps: first sample $Y_A$ (obtaining some string $(a_1,...,a_{N_A})$), and then sample $(Y_B | Y_A = (a_1,...,a_{N_A}))$. The null hypothesis is that $Y$ follows the same distribution as $X$.

The problem that arises here is that the set of possible outcomes for $A$ is too large, which means that the probability to obtain the same $a= (a_1, ..., a_{N_A})$ is negligible. Thus, the distribution of the random variables in subset $B$ changes in each iteration. Since I cannot repeat the sampling under identical conditions I cannot use the usual central limit theorem to approximate the experimental mean by a Gaussian and perform typical Gaussian hypothesis tests.

You can imagine this as having $N$ biased coins, each bias being different, and the coins may not be independent. First I throw $N_A$ of the coins, which conditions the possible outcomes of the second set $B$.

How can I test my null hypothesis under these restrictions?

More details of the problem: I am dealing with a problem in quantum mechanics, having a state of $N$ spins that might be entangled (thus non independent variables). The data corresponds to measuring part of the system first (subsystem $A$), thus collapsing the whole state and conditioning the possible outcomes of the rest of the system (subsystem $B$). Because the set of possible outcomes for subsystem $A$ is very large and because when I measure I destroy the state, sampling two times subsystem $A$ and obtain the same result is highly unlikely.

Thank you very much in advance! Any idea or suggestion is highly appreciated!

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  • $\begingroup$ What is your null hypothesis here? It's not clear to me. $\endgroup$ – Matt F. Mar 4 at 10:49
  • $\begingroup$ @MattF. I have edited my question and hope it is more clear. I did not write down the distribution corresponding to the null hypothesis because I want to leave it in a general formulation, as (see end of the post) it arises from the physical problem I have. It is a very general binary distribution: each binary string (a_1,...,a_N) has a certain probability, but it is not given by any well known distribution. I can compute expectation values and correlations theoretically and I would like to see if certain data, that has been sampled in this particular 2 steps-way, matches my model. $\endgroup$ – ECR Mar 4 at 12:33
  • $\begingroup$ I still don't find this clear. It would help to have a simple example, maybe with $A=2, B=1$, and maybe using sequentially chosen decks of cards rather than "non-independent coins". For now, I can't tell how this sequential sampling is different from normal sampling, or whether the sample of $Y$ is being compared with a distribution, or with a sample from $X$. $\endgroup$ – Matt F. Mar 4 at 15:14
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(i) If you only know the one-dimensional marginals and the second moments of your null distribution, then you can only test hypotheses on those, rather than on the entire null distribution.

(ii) Without taking into account how entanglement works, you cannot devise a reasonable test here. I don't actually know how entanglement works, but suspect that, because of the concentration of measure phenomenon, the conditional distribution of $Y_B$ given $Y_A$ may depend (at least approximately, with high probability) on just a low-dimensional functional of $Y_A$. If so, you can get a desired dimensionality reduction, which would allow a reasonable test.

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