Imputation based on local likelihood density estimation for interval censored survival data with application to tree mortality in British Columbia

Soyean Kim successfully defended her M.Sc. project entitled "Imputation based on local likelihood density estimation for interval censored survival data with application to tree mortality in British Columbia" on 24 February 2009.

Censored data arise in many situations including forestry and medical studies, and may take several forms. In this project, we consider imputation methods for estimating lifetimes when interval censored data are available. We investigate an imputation method based on local likelihood density estimation, where kernel smoothing is used to estimate the underlying distribution of lifetimes in order to calculate the conditional expectation of the observed lifetime. We contrast this with a simple midpoint estimator, where the imputed lifetime is the midpoint of the interval censored data. We compare the two imputation methods in the context of an analysis of tree mortality in British Columbia. The main goal of the project is to describe the relationships between tree lifetimes and important covariates such as thinning levels and species of trees while observing how the use of different imputation methods can affect the derived relationships. Additionally, we investigate the behaviour of the imputation schemes in simulation studies which vary the widths and sample size of the interval censored lifetimes.

This type of interdisciplinary work is a hallmark of our program in Applied Statistics at Simon Fraser University. For more information, please contact Soyean Kim (ska8@sfu.ca) or her supervisors Charmaine Dean (dean@stat.sfu.ca), Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science or Leilei Zeng (lzeng@sfu.ca), Faculty of Health Sciences.

2009-02-24