When are two multivariate random processes indistinguishable

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Prediction error identification methods have been recently the objects of much study, and have wide applicability. The maximum likelihood (ML) identification methods for Gaussian models and the least squares prediction error method (LSPE) are special cases of the general approach. In this paper, we investigate conditions for distinguishability or identifiability of multivariate random processes, for both continuous and discrete observation time T. We consider stationary stochastic processes, for the ML and LSPE methods, and for large observation interval T, we resolve the identifiability question. Our analysis begins by considering stationary autoregressive moving average models, but the conclusions apply for general stationary, stable vector models. The limiting value for T → ∞ of the criterion function is evaluated, and it is viewed as a distance measure in the parameter space of the model.

The main new result of this paper is to specify the equivalence classes of stationary models that achieve the global minimization of the above distance measure, and hence to determine precisely the classes of models that are not identifiable from each other. The new conclusions are useful for parameterizing multivariate stationary models in system identification problems. Relationships to previously discovered identifiability conditions are discussed.

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