# Wold decomposition

A decomposition introduced by H. Wold in 1938 (see [a7]); see also [a5], [a8]. Standard references include [a6], [a3].

The Wold decomposition of a (weakly) stationary stochastic process $\{ x _ { t } : t \in \mathbf{Z} \}$, $x _ { t } : \Omega \rightarrow \mathbf{R} ^ { n }$, provides interesting insights in the structure of such processes and, in particular, is an important tool for forecasting (from an infinite past).

The main result can be summarized as:

1) Every (weakly) stationary process $\{ x _ { t } : t \in \mathbf{Z} \}$ can uniquely be decomposed as

\begin{equation*} x _ { t } = y _ { t } + z _ { t }, \end{equation*}

where the stationary processes $( y _ { t } )$ and $( z _ { t } )$ are obtained by causal linear transformations of $( x _ { t } )$ (where "causal" means that, e.g. $y _ { t }$, only depends on $x _ { s }$, $s \leq t$), $( y _ { t } )$ and $( z _ { t } )$ are mutually uncorrelated, $( y _ { t } )$ is linearly regular (i.e. the best linear least squares predictors converge to zero, if the forecasting horizon tends to infinity) and $( z _ { t } )$ is linearly singular (i.e. the prediction errors for the best linear least squares predictors are zero).

2) Every linearly regular process $( y _ { t } )$ can be represented as

\begin{equation} \tag{a1} y _ { t } = \sum _ { j = 0 } ^ { \infty } K _ { j } \varepsilon _ { t - j }, \end{equation}

\begin{equation*} K _ { j } \in {\bf R} ^ { n \times n } , K _ { 0 } = I , \sum _ { j = 0 } ^ { \infty } \| K _ { j } \| ^ { 2 } < \infty , \end{equation*}

where $\varepsilon _ { t }$ is white noise (i.e. $\mathsf{E} \varepsilon _ { t } = 0$, $\mathsf{E} \varepsilon _ { t } \varepsilon _ { s } ^ { \prime } = \delta _ { s t } \Sigma$) and $\varepsilon _ { t }$ is obtained by a causal linear transformation of $( y _ { t } )$.

The construction behind the Wold decomposition in the Hilbert space $H$ spanned by the one-dimensional process variables $x _ { t } ^ { ( i ) }$ is as follows: If $H _ { x } ( t )$ denotes the subspace spanned by $\left\{ x _ { s } ^ { ( i ) } : s \leq t ,\, i = 1 , \dots , n \right\}$, then $z _ { t } ^ { ( i ) }$ is obtained from projecting $x _ { t } ^ { ( i ) }$ on the space , and $\varepsilon _ { t } ^ { (i) }$ is obtained as the perpendicular by projecting $y _ { t } ^ { ( i ) }$ on the space $H _ { y } ( t - 1 )$ spanned by $\left\{ y _ { s } ^ { ( i ) } : s < t ,\; i = 1 , \dots , n \right\}$. Thus $\varepsilon _ { t }$ is the innovation and the one-step-ahead prediction error for $y _ { t }$ as well as for $x _ { t }$.

The implications of the above-mentioned results for (linear least squares) prediction are straightforward: Since $( y _ { t } )$ and $( z _ { t } )$ are orthogonal and since $H _ { x } ( t )$ is the direct sum of $H _ { y } ( t )$ and $H _ { z } ( t )$, the prediction problem can be solved for the linearly regular and the linearly singular part separately, and for a linearly regular process $( y _ { t } )$, $H _ { y } ( t ) = H _ { \epsilon } ( t )$ implies that the best linear least squares $r$-step ahead predictor for $y _ { t+r}$ is given by

\begin{equation*} \hat { y } _ { t , r } = \sum _ { j = r } ^ { \infty } K _ { j } \varepsilon _ { t + r - j } \end{equation*}

and thus the prediction error is

\begin{equation*} y _ { t + r } - \hat { y } _ { t , r } = \sum _ { j = 0 } ^ { r - 1 } K _ { j } \varepsilon _ { t + r - j }. \end{equation*}

Thus, when the representation (a1) is available, the prediction problem for a linearly regular process can be solved.

The next problem is to obtain (a1) from the second moments of $( y _ { t } )$ (cf. also Moment). The problem of determining the coefficients $K_j$ of the Wold representation (a1) (or, equivalently, of determining the corresponding transfer function $k ( e ^ { - i \lambda } ) = \sum _ { j = 0 } ^ { \infty } K _ { j } e ^ { - i \lambda j }$) from the spectral density

\begin{equation} \tag{a2} f ( \lambda ) = ( 2 \pi ) ^ { - 1 } k ( e ^ { - i \lambda } ) \Sigma k ^ { * } ( e ^ { - i \lambda } ), \end{equation}

(where the $*$ denotes the conjugate transpose) of a linearly regular process $( y _ { t } )$, is called the spectral factorization problem. The following result holds:

3) A stationary process $( y _ { t } )$ with a spectral density $f$, which is non-singular $\lambda$-a.e., is linearly regular if and only if

\begin{equation*} \int _ { - \pi } ^ { \pi } \operatorname { log } \operatorname { det } f ( \lambda ) d \lambda > - \infty. \end{equation*}

In this case the factorization $( k , \Sigma )$ in (a2) corresponding to the Wold representation (a1) satisfies the relation

\begin{equation*} \operatorname { det } \Sigma = \operatorname { exp } \left\{ ( 2 \pi ) ^ { - 1 } \int _ { - \pi } ^ { \pi } \operatorname { log } \operatorname { det } 2 \pi f ( \lambda ) d \lambda \right\}. \end{equation*}

The most important special case is that of rational spectral densities; for such one has (see e.g. [a4]):

4) Any rational and $\lambda$-a.e. non-singular spectral density $f$ can be uniquely factorized, such that $k ( z )$ (the extension of $k ( e ^ { - i \lambda } )$ to $\mathbf{C}$) is rational, analytic within a circle containing the closed unit disc, $\operatorname { det } k ( z ) \neq 0$, $| z | < 1$, $k ( 0 ) = I$ (and thus corresponds to the Wold representation (a1)), and $\Sigma > 0$. Then (a1) is the solution of a stable and miniphase ARMA or a (linear) finite-dimensional state space system.

Evidently, the Wold representation (a1) relates stationary processes to linear systems with white noise inputs. Actually, Wold introduced (a1) as a joint representation for AR and MA systems (cf. also Mixed autoregressive moving-average process).

The Wold representation is used, e.g., for the construction of the state space of a linearly regular process and the construction of state space representations, see [a1], [a4]. As mentioned already, the case of rational transfer functions corresponding to stable and miniphase ARMA or (finite-dimensional) state space systems is by far the most important one. In this case there is a wide class of identification procedures available, which also give estimates of the coefficients $K_j$ from finite data $y _ { 1 } , \dots , y _ { T }$ (see e.g. [a4]).

Another case is that of stationary long memory processes (see e.g. [a2]). In this case, in (a1), $\| \sum _ { j = 0 } ^ { \infty } K _ { j } \| ^ { 2 } = \infty$, so that $f$ is infinity at frequency zero, which causes the long memory effect. Models of this kind, in particular so-called ARFIMA models, have attracted considerable attention in modern econometrics.

How to Cite This Entry:
Wold decomposition. Encyclopedia of Mathematics. URL: http://encyclopediaofmath.org/index.php?title=Wold_decomposition&oldid=50583
This article was adapted from an original article by M. Deistler (originator), which appeared in Encyclopedia of Mathematics - ISBN 1402006098. See original article