Statistical Predictions Based on Accelerated Degradation Data and Spatial Count Data


TR Number



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Virginia Tech


This dissertation aims to develop methods for statistical predictions based on various types of data from different areas. We focus on applications from reliability and spatial epidemiology. Chapter 1 gives a general introduction of statistical predictions. Chapters 2 and 3 investigate the photodegradation of an organic coating, which is mainly caused by ultraviolet (UV) radiation but also affected by environmental factors, including temperature and humidity. In Chapter 2, we identify a physically motivated nonlinear mixed-effects model, including the effects of environmental variables, to describe the degradation path. Unit-to-unit variabilities are modeled as random effects. The maximum likelihood approach is used to estimate parameters based on the accelerated test data from laboratory. The developed model is then extended to allow for time-varying covariates and is used to predict outdoor degradation where the explanatory variables are time-varying.

Chapter 3 introduces a class of models for analyzing degradation data with dynamic covariate information. We use a general path model with random effects to describe the degradation paths and a vector time series model to describe the covariate process. Shape restricted splines are used to estimate the effects of dynamic covariates on the degradation process. The unknown parameters of these models are estimated by using the maximum likelihood method. Algorithms for computing the estimated lifetime distribution are also described. The proposed methods are applied to predict the photodegradation path of an organic coating in a complicated dynamic environment.

Chapter 4 investigates the Lyme disease emergency in Virginia at census tract level. Based on areal (census tract level) count data of Lyme disease cases in Virginia from 1998 to 2011, we analyze the spatial patterns of the disease using statistical smoothing techniques. We also use the space and space-time scan statistics to reveal the presence of clusters in the spatial and spatial/temporal distribution of Lyme disease.

Chapter 5 builds a predictive model for Lyme disease based on historical data and environmental/demographical information of each census tract. We propose a Divide-Recombine method to take advantage of parallel computing. We compare prediction results through simulation studies, which show our method can provide comparable fitting and predicting accuracy but can achieve much more computational efficiency. We also apply the proposed method to analyze Virginia Lyme disease spatio-temporal data. Our method makes large-scale spatio-temporal predictions possible. Chapter 6 gives a general review on the contributions of this dissertation, and discusses directions for future research.



Coatings, Covariate process, Clusters, Divide-Recombine, Environmental conditions, Lifetime prediction, Lyme disease, Kernel smoothing, Photodegradation, Usage history, UV exposure, Random effects, Reliability, Spatio-temporal.