The pool-adjacent violator-algorithm (Ayer et al., 1955) has long been known to give the maximum likelihood estimator of a series of ordered binomial parameters, based on an independent observation from each distribution (see, Barlow et al., 1972). This result has immediate application to estimation of a survival distribution based on current survival status at a set of monitoring times. This paper considers an extended problem of maximum likelihood estimation of a series of ‘ordered’ multinomial parameters pi = (p1i, p2i, . . . , pmi) for 1 < = I < = k, where ordered means that pj1 < = pj2 < = .. . < = pjk for each j with 1 < = j < = m-1. The data consist of k independent observations X1, . . . ,Xk where Xi has a multinomial distribution with probability parameter pi and known index ni > = 1. By making use of variants of the pool adjacent violator algorithm, we obtain a simple algorithm to compute the maximum likelihood estimator of p1, . . . , pk, and demonstrate its convergence. The results are applied to nonparametric maximum likelihood estimation of the sub-distribution functions associated with a survival time random variable with competing risks when only current status data are available. (Jewell et al., 2003)


Categorical Data Analysis | Numerical Analysis and Computation | Statistical Methodology | Statistical Theory | Survival Analysis

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October 22, 2003