Estimating tail probabilities of heavy tailed distributions with asymptotically zero relative error.

*(English)*Zbl 1145.90355Summary: Efficient estimation of tail probabilities involving heavy tailed random variables is amongst the most challenging problems in Monte-Carlo simulation. In the last few years, applied probabilists have achieved considerable success in developing efficient algorithms for some such simple but fundamental tail probabilities. Usually, unbiased importance sampling estimators of such tail probabilities are developed and it is proved that these estimators are asymptotically efficient or even possess the desirable bounded relative error property. In this paper, as an illustration, we consider a simple tail probability involving geometric sums of heavy tailed random variables. This is useful in estimating the probability of large delays in \(M/G/1\) queues. In this setting we develop an unbiased estimator whose relative error decreases to zero asymptotically. The key idea is to decompose the probability of interest into a known dominant component and an unknown small component. Simulation then focuses on estimating the latter ‘residual’ probability. Here we show that the existing conditioning methods or importance sampling methods are not effective in estimating the residual probability while an appropriate combination of the two estimates it with bounded relative error. As a further illustration of the proposed ideas, we apply them to develop an estimator for the probability of large delays in stochastic activity networks that has an asymptotically zero relative error.

##### MSC:

90B22 | Queues and service in operations research |

##### Keywords:

Bounded relative error; Asymptotically zero relative error; Complexity; Rare event simulation; Regular variation; Subexponential distribution; Importance sampling; Conditional Monte-Carlo; Control variate
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\textit{S. Juneja}, Queueing Syst. 57, No. 2--3, 115--127 (2007; Zbl 1145.90355)

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