Description: Some curve fitting or smoothing tools can benefit from knowledge of the noise variance to expect on your data. Kalman filters use this information, also some spline fitting tools. So I wrote a function to extract the noise variance from a signal vector. It also works on any specified dimension of an array.
A few examples of this code in use:
Simple linear data, with purely additive N(0,1) gaussian noise:
t = 0:10000; x = t + randn(size(t)); mv = estimatenoise(x) mv = 1.0166
Gaussian noise added to a sine wave (Nominal variance = 0.01) t = linspace(0,1,1000)'; x = sin(t*50) + randn(size(t))/10; mv = estimatenoise(x) mv = 0.0096887
Pure gaussian noise, with a nominal variance of 9. (Note that var would have been a better estimator for this particular case...)
mv = estimatenoise(3*randn(2,3,1000),3) mv = 9.6584 8.2696 8.632 9.2404 8.5346 9.7725
A piecewise constant function with multiple discontinuities. The true noise variance should be 0.01.
t = linspace(0,1,1000); X = round(cos(t*6*pi)) + randn(size(t))/10; plot(t,X) var(X) % var will be wildly in error ans = 0.68256
estimatenoise(X) ans = 0.010882
Test if estimatenoise is able to recover the variance of a normally distributed random sample with unit variance. (Yes, it will be much slower than var.)
mean(estimatenoise(randn(1000,1000))) ans = 1.0002
Estimatenoise can now handle nonuniformly spaced series (by request.) In the next example, the actual noise variance was 1.0 here. Perform the operation 1000 times, then look at the median variance estimate. How well did we do?
t = sort([randn(1,100) , randn(1,100)+5]); X = repmat(sin(t*5)*100,1000,1) + ... randn(1000,length(t));
Estimatenoise is clearly wrong when the spacing is ignored.
median(estimatenoise(X,2)) ans = 16.438
Supplying the sampling "times", we get quite a reasonable result. median(estimatenoise(X,2,t)) ans = 1.1307
Estimatenoise also works on data with replicates. In this example, each point will be replicated up to 3 times. The actual noise variance was again 1.0 here. I'll also compare the increase in times required for estimatenoise when t is supplied.
t = sort([0:1:100, 1:2:100, 1:4:100]); X = repmat(sin(t/10)*100,1000,1)+ ... randn(1000,length(t));
Again, estimatenoise is clearly wrong when the nonuniform spacing is ignored.
tic,median(estimatenoise(X,2)),toc ans = 4.2056 Elapsed time is 2.690135 seconds.
Supplying the sampling "times", we again get quite a reasonable result. The time penalty is not quite 2x.
tic,median(estimatenoise(X,2,t)),toc ans = 1.0116 Elapsed time is 4.864486 seconds.
License: Freeware Related: do3ft, sortrandn, estimate, median, Operation, times, randn, repmatsint, ignoredmedianestimatenoisex ans, supplying, spacing, wrong, randn lengthtestimatenoise, perform, actual, Sample, slower, Random, Distributed O/S:BSD, Linux, Solaris, Mac OS X File Size: 10.0 KB Downloads: 5

