Multiscale scanning with nuisance parameters


König C, Munk A, Werner F






We investigate the problem to find anomalies in a d-dimensional random field via multiscale scanning in the presence of nuisance parameters. This covers the common situation that either the baseline-level or additional parameters such as the variance are unknown and have to be estimated from the data. We argue that state of the art approaches to determine asymptotically correct critical values for the multiscale scanning statistic will in general fail when naively such parameters are replaced by plug-in estimators. Opposed to this, we suggest to estimate the nuisance parameters on the largest scale and to use the remaining scales for multiscale scanning. We prove a uniform invariance principle for the resulting adjusted multiscale statistic (AMS), which is widely applicable and provides a computationally feasible way to simulate asymptotically correct critical values. We illustrate the implications of our theoretical results in a simulation study and in a real data example from super-resolution STED microscopy. This allows us to identify interesting regions inside a specimen in a pre-scan with controlled family-wise error rate.