A brief introduction to computer-intensive methods, with a view towards applications in spatial statistics and stereology.J Microsc. 2011 Apr;242(1):1-9
Authors: Mattfeldt T
Computer-intensive methods may be defined as data analytical procedures involving a huge number of highly repetitive computations. We mention resampling methods with replacement (bootstrap methods), resampling methods without replacement (randomization tests) and simulation methods. The resampling methods are based on simple and robust principles and are largely free from distributional assumptions. Bootstrap methods may be used to compute confidence intervals for a scalar model parameter and for summary statistics from replicated planar point patterns, and for significance tests. For some simple models of planar point processes, point patterns can be simulated by elementary Monte Carlo methods. The simulation of models with more complex interaction properties usually requires more advanced computing methods. In this context, we mention simulation of Gibbs processes with Markov chain Monte Carlo methods using the Metropolis-Hastings algorithm. An alternative to simulations on the basis of a parametric model consists of stochastic reconstruction methods. The basic ideas behind the methods are briefly reviewed and illustrated by simple worked examples in order to encourage novices in the field to use computer-intensive methods.