# Sample from Gaussian Process across 2D

This seems like a straightforward questions; my apologies if it is already answered (I have looked).

Problem: I would like to sample from a Gaussian Process (GP) prior over X and Y coordinates (e.g. Lat, Lon). I would then like to fit data points on these two dimensions. I would like to use the analytical form as opposed to MCMC and compute it in R.

Examples: David Duvenaud's Kernel Cookbook describes the multidimensional product kernel and illustrates a sample from the prior (below). The PDF of his thesis also illustrates data fitted to this kernel.

Code: For the 1-dimensional case; in R I am computing a basic squared exponential (aka RBF, Gaussian, etc...) kernel on the index x.star and pulling samples from multivariate normal with mean zero and sigma sigma. (code based on James Keirstead example)

require("MASS")
require("plyr")
require("reshape2")
require("ggplot2")
set.seed(12345)

#   a covariance matrix
calcSigma <- function(X1,X2,l=5,s=0.5) {
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(-s*(abs(X1[i]-X2[j])/l)^2)
}
}
return(Sigma)
}

x.star <- seq(1,50,len=100)
sigma <- calcSigma(x.star,x.star)

# Generate a number of functions from the process
n.samples <- 10
values <- matrix(rep(0,length(x.star)*n.samples), ncol=n.samples)
for (i in 1:n.samples) {
values[,i] <- mvrnorm(1, rep(0, length(x.star)), sigma)
}
values <- cbind(x=x.star,as.data.frame(values))
values <- melt(values,id="x")

ggplot(values,aes(x=x,y=value)) +
geom_rect(xmin=-Inf, xmax=Inf, ymin=-2, ymax=2,
fill="grey90", alpha = 0.5) +
geom_line(aes(group=variable)) +
theme_bw() +
scale_y_continuous(lim=c(-2.5,2.5), name="output, f(x)") +
xlab("input, x")


I am then using the below form to extract posterior samples with noise:

I would like to be able to samples across and X and Y coordinates from a product squared exponential kernel. Thank you for your time.

• What is the question? If you are able to do the 1d case, extension to 2d inputs should be straightforward Commented Dec 22, 2017 at 21:50
• Exactly, it should be but I am a bit dense. I guess the question is, how to I sample for all pairs of points on both x1 and x2 input vectors so that a 2D surface can be plotted? Apologies that I can not articulate it much better than than. Commented Dec 22, 2017 at 22:59

## 1 Answer

Found an analytical solution to this. Turns out all of the action is in the kernel; not in the sampling from the multivariate normal. The key is to compute a pairwise distance grid across the two input dimensions. This takes it from an n x n problem to an n^2 x n^2 problem. See code below.

library("ggplot2")
library("plgp")

# kernel function
rbf_D <- function(X,l=1, eps = sqrt(.Machine\$double.eps) ){
D <- plgp::distance(X)
Sigma <- exp(-D/l)^2 + diag(eps, nrow(X))
}
# number of samples
nx <- 30
x <- seq(0,2,length=nx)
# grid of pairwise values
X <- expand.grid(x, x)
# compute squared exponential kernel on pairwise values
Sigma <- rbf_D(X,l=2)

# sample from multivariate normal with mean zero, sigma = sigma
Y <- MASS::mvrnorm(1,rep(0,dim(Sigma)[1]), Sigma)

# plot results
pp <- data.frame(y=Y,x1=X[,1],x2=X[,2])
ggplot(pp,aes(x=x1,y=x2)) +
geom_raster(aes(fill=y), interpolate = TRUE) +
geom_contour(aes(z=y), bins = 12, color = "gray30",
size = 0.5, alpha = 0.5) +
coord_equal() +
scale_x_continuous(expand=c(0,0)) +
scale_y_continuous(expand=c(0,0)) +
scale_fill_viridis_c(option = "viridis")


based on code from Robert Gramacy.

• wow, this looks so cool! are there ready made functions we can use for this, instead of using the long form functions? Commented May 30, 2021 at 16:14
• Hello @Noob, not that I am aware of in R. There may be, but I have not worked in this area for some years. Commented Jun 15, 2021 at 13:41