Actually Sparse Variational Gaussian Processes


Gaussian processes (GPs) are typically criticised for their unfavourable scaling in both computational and memory requirements. For large datasets, sparse GPs reduce these demands by conditioning on a small set of inducing variables designed to summarise the data. In practice however, for large datasets requiring many inducing variables, such as low-lengthscale spatial data, even sparse GPs can become computationally expensive, limited by the number of inducing variables one can use. In this work, we propose a new class of inter-domain variational GP, constructed by projecting a GP onto a set of compactly supported B-spline basis functions. The key benefit of our approach is that the compact support of the B-spline basis functions admits the use of sparse linear algebra to significantly speed up matrix operations and drastically reduce the memory footprint. This allows us to very efficiently model fast-varying spatial phenomena with tens of thousands of inducing variables, where previous approaches failed.

International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics