Published: Sept. 28, 2018

Authors: Keith Tauscher, David Rapetti, Jack O. Burns

Abstract: The reduced chi-squared statistic is a commonly used goodness-of-fit measure, but it cannot easily detect features near the noise level, even when a large amount of data is available. In this paper, we introduce a new goodness-of-fit measure that we name the reduced psi-squared statistic. It probes the two-point correlations in the residuals of a fit, whereas chi-squared accounts for only the absolute values of each residual point, not considering the relationship between these points. The new statistic maintains sensitivity to individual outliers, but is superior to chi-squared in detecting wide, low level features in the presence of a large number of noisy data points. After presenting this new statistic, we show an instance of its use in the context of analyzing radio spectroscopic data for 21-cm cosmology experiments. We perform fits to simulated data with four components: foreground emission, the global 21-cm signal, an idealized instrument systematic, and noise. This example is particularly timely given the ongoing efforts to confirm the first observational result for this signal, where this work found its original motivation. In addition, we release a Python script dubbed psipy which allows for quick, efficient calculation of the reduced psi-squared statistic on arbitrary data arrays, to be applied in any field of study. Read more via arXiv or via Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics.