Systematically Exploring Associations among Multivariate Data
Detecting relationships among multivariate data is often of great importance in the analysis of high-dimensional data sets, and has received growing attention for decades from both academic and industrial fields. In this study, we propose a statistical tool named the neighbor correlation coefficient (nCor), which is based on a new idea that measures the local continuity of the reordered data points to quantify the strength of the global association between variables. With sufficient sample size, the new method is able to capture a wide range of functional relationship, whether it is linear or nonlinear, bivariate or multivariate, main effect or interaction. The score of nCor roughly approximates the coefficient of determination (R2) of the data which implies the proportion of variance in one variable that is predictable from one or more other variables. On this basis, three nCor based statistics are also proposed here to further characterize the intra and inter structures of the associations from the aspects of nonlinearity, interaction effect, and variable redundancy. The mechanisms of these measures are proved in theory and demonstrated with numerical analyses.