# How to simulate functional data?

I'm trying to test various functional data analysis approaches. Ideally, i'd like to test the panel of approaches i have on simulated functional data. I've tried to generate simulated FD using an approach based on a summing Gaussian noises (code below), but the resulting curves look much too rugged compared to the real thing.

I was wondering whether somebody had a pointer to functions/ideas to generate more realistic looking simulated functional data. In particular, these should be smooth. I'm completely new to this field so any advice is welcomed.

library("MASS")
library("caTools")
VCM<-function(cont,theta=0.99){
Sigma<-matrix(rep(0,length(cont)^2),nrow=length(cont))
for(i in 1:nrow(Sigma)){
for (j in 1:ncol(Sigma)) Sigma[i,j]<-theta^(abs(cont[i]-cont[j]))
}
return(Sigma)
}

t1<-1:120
CVC<-runmean(cumsum(rnorm(length(t1))),k=10)
VMC<-VCM(cont=t1,theta=0.99)
sig<-runif(ncol(VMC))
VMC<-diag(sig)%*%VMC%*%diag(sig)
DTA<-mvrnorm(100,rep(0,ncol(VMC)),VMC)

DTA<-sweep(DTA,2,CVC)
DTA<-apply(DTA,2,runmean,k=5)
matplot(t(DTA),type="l",col=1,lty=1)

• Can't you just simulate data whose mean is a known smooth function and add random noise? For example, x=seq(0,2*pi,length=1000); plot(sin(x)+rnorm(1000)/10,type="l"); – Macro Jun 19 '12 at 0:15
• @Macro: nop, if you zoom in you plot you will see that the functions generated by it are not smooth. Compare them to some of the curves on these slides: bscb.cornell.edu/~hooker/FDA2007/Lecture1.pdf . A smoothed spline of your x's could do the trick, but i'm looking for a direct way to generate the data. – user603 Jun 19 '12 at 0:23
• anytime you're including noise (which is a necessary part of any stochastic model), the raw data will be, inherently, non-smooth. The spline fit you're referring to is assuming the signal is smooth - not the actual observed data (which is a combination of signal and noise). – Macro Jun 19 '12 at 0:29
• @Macro: compare your simulated processes to those on page 16 of this document: inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/mackay/gpB.pdf – user603 Jun 19 '12 at 0:34
• use higher order polynomials. A 20th degree polynomial with random coefficients (with the right distribution) can change directions (smoothly) quite a lot. If you've found an answer to your question perhaps you can post it as an answer? – Macro Jun 19 '12 at 1:12

Take a look at how to simulate realizations of a Gaussian Process (GP). The smoothness of the realizations depend on the analytical properties of the covariance function of the GP. This online book has a lot of information: http://uncertainty.stat.cmu.edu/

This video gives a nice introduction to GP's: http://videolectures.net/gpip06_mackay_gpb/

P.S. Regarding your comment, this code may give you a start.

library(MASS)
C <- function(x, y) 0.01 * exp(-10000 * (x - y)^2) # covariance function
M <- function(x) sin(x) # mean function
t <- seq(0, 1, by = 0.01) # will sample the GP at these points
k <- length(t)
m <- M(t)
S <- matrix(nrow = k, ncol = k)
for (i in 1:k) for (j in 1:k) S[i, j] = C(t[i], t[j])
z <- mvrnorm(1, m, S)
plot(t, z)

• Do you have a link that adresses the question of how to simulate realizations of a Gaussian process, specifically? This is not adressed in the book (looking at the index). – user603 Jun 19 '12 at 7:23
• Simulation of a GP is done through the finite dimensional distributions. Basically, you choose as many points of the domain as you want, and from the mean and covariance function of the GP you obtain a multivariate normal. Sampling from this multivariate normal gives you the value of the realizations of the GP at the chosen points. As I've said, these values approximate a smooth function, as long as the covariance function of the GP satisfies the necessary analytic conditions. A quadratic exponential covariance function (with a "jitter" term) is a good start. – Zen Jun 19 '12 at 16:54

Ok, here is the answer i came up with (it's essentially taken from here and here). The idea is to project some random pairs $\{x_i,y_i\}$ unto a spline basis. Then, we are assured to get a draw from a (smooth) GP.

require("MASS")
calcSigma<-function(X1,X2,l=1){
Sigma<-matrix(rep(0,length(X1)*length(X2)),nrow=length(X1))
for(i in 1:nrow(Sigma)){
for (j in 1:ncol(Sigma)) Sigma[i,j]<-exp(-1/2*(abs(X1[i]-X2[j])/l)^2)
}
return(Sigma)
}
# The standard deviation of the noise
n.samples<-50
n.draws<-50
x.star<-seq(-5,5,len=n.draws)
nval<-3
f<-data.frame(x=seq(-5,5,l=nval),y=rnorm(nval,0,10))
sigma.n<-0.2
# Recalculate the mean and covariance functions
k.xx<-calcSigma(f$x,f$x)
k.xxs<-calcSigma(f$x,x.star) k.xsx<-calcSigma(x.star,f$x)
k.xsxs<-calcSigma(x.star,x.star)
f.bar.star<-k.xsx%*%solve(k.xx+sigma.n^2*diag(1,ncol(k.xx)))%*%f\$y
cov.f.star<-k.xsxs-k.xsx%*%solve(k.xx+sigma.n^2*diag(1,ncol(k.xx)))%*%k.xxs
values<-matrix(rep(0,length(x.star)*n.samples),ncol=n.samples)
for (i in 1:n.samples)  values[,i]<-mvrnorm(1,f.bar.star,cov.f.star)
values<-cbind(x=x.star,as.data.frame(values))
matplot(x=values[,1],y=values[,-1],lty=1,type="l",col="black")
lines(x.star,f.bar.star,col="red",lwd=2)


• This looks good! – Zen Jun 28 '12 at 17:51