A noise-driven strategy for background estimation and event detection in data streams

Bruce R. Copeland, Min Chen, Brad D. Wade, Linda S. Powers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


A theory is presented for a discrete, finite-horizon, H filter that estimates background in a data stream. Threshold rejection is introduced into the theory by way of an approximation for the H observation innovation. The threshold is simply related to a basis variance that can either be provided as input or accumulated over the data stream. This framework identifies background as the portion of a data stream that varies within the bulk of the noise in the data. Unexpected events in the data stream are therefore synonymous with statistical outliers-especially successive outliers of the same direction. The resulting methodology is robust and suitable for real-time applications. It can handle types of background variation in which smoothing and band pass filtering are ineffective. There are no adjustable parameters because all such quantities either have universal values or are selected using well-defined principles. The performance of the filter is demonstrated using computer simulated data sets and arbitrary instrumental data. Examples of its application are also presented in the fields of finance and computer security.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3739-3751
Number of pages13
JournalSignal Processing
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2006


  • Background estimation
  • Kalman filtering
  • Statistical threshold
  • Threshold rejection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Software
  • Signal Processing
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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