CMB bispectrum, trispectrum, non-Gaussianity, and the Cramer-Rao bound

Marc Kamionkowski, Tristan L. Smith, Alan Heavens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Minimum-variance estimators for the parameter f(nl) that quantifies local-model non-Gaussianity can be constructed from the cosmic microwave background (CMB) bispectrum (three-point function) and also from the trispectrum (four-point function). Some have suggested that a comparison between the estimates for the values of f(nl) from the bispectrum and trispectrum allow a consistency test for the model. But others argue that the saturation of the Cramer-Rao bound-which gives a lower limit to the variance of an estimator-by the bispectrum estimator implies that no further information on f(nl) can be obtained from the trispectrum. Here, we elaborate the nature of the correlation between the bispectrum and trispectrum estimators for f(nl). We show that the two estimators become statistically independent in the limit of large number of CMB pixels, and thus that the trispectrum estimator does indeed provide additional information on f(nl) beyond that obtained from the bispectrum. We explain how this conclusion is consistent with the Cramer-Rao bound. Our discussion of the Cramer-Rao bound may be of interest to those doing Fisher-matrix parameter-estimation forecasts or data analysis in other areas of physics as well.

Original languageEnglish
Article number023007
Pages (from-to)-
Number of pages10
JournalPhysical Review D
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jan 2011

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