We show that temporal sequences of delays gathered from such a system can be successfully modeled with simple statistical tools based on marginal probability distributions, especially when abrupt changes in the signal are appropriately detected��i.e., quickly and with high sensitivity��since those abrupt changes can be then used for separating the sequence into segments that do not contain such non-linearities (in statistical terms, marginal probability distributions are correct models as long as there is temporal independence between values in the sequence). We analyse in the paper the scenarios where this approach is expected to work, and the general characteristics they show. Our marginal distribution approach has reduced computational complexity with respect to other methods, and maintains an appropriate level of accurateness.

In particular, it provides statistical significance to the model, or, in other words, the models obtained can explain the data in a statistical sense.Standard methods that are commonly applied to characterize this kind of sequences of random values work by representing the entire sequence by a single model that captures as accurately as possible all the dependences existing between the values, instead of separating the sequence into nearly independent segments as we propose here. The two most common approaches found in literature are time series and hidden Markov models (HMM), both with well-known computational costs [18] (they are also very often used off-line).

On the one hand, time series come in several flavors, depending on their flexibility: ARMA models are O(m3T), where T is the length of the series and m = p + q the sum of orders of the model��these Batimastat orders are to be decided previously with some additional procedure�� but they are unable to represent signals with abrupt changes or trends; when the series has trends we can use a more involved ARIMA model, which is O(T2) [19], but it cannot deal with abrupt changes in the signal; when the signal is to be segmented due to the presence of such abrupt changes, real-time algorithms based on ARMA exist that are O(m3T2) [20]; finally, more complex and specific time series algorithms can be found, but with even worse computational costs [21]. On the other hand, HMM deal naturally with signals that change abruptly, representing them as the output of a stochastic process that varies its (hidden) state probabilistically. Unfortunately, learning the parameters of an HMM usually requires a T that is longer than in the ARMA case, i.e., to gather appreciably longer sequences of values; in addition, its complexity is O(N2T2), where N is the number of states considered for the system. That number should be estimated previously with some other procedure.