Sparse Gaussian Processes with Spherical Harmonic Features

Part of Proceedings of the International Conference on Machine Learning 1 pre-proceedings (ICML 2020)

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Vincent Dutordoir, Nicolas Durrande, James Hensman


<p>We introduce a new class of interdomain variational Gaussian processes (GP) where data is mapped onto the unit hypersphere in order to use spherical harmonic representations. Our inference scheme is comparable to variational Fourier features, but it does not suffer from the curse of dimensionality, and leads to diagonal covariance matrices between inducing variables. This enables a speed-up in inference, because it bypasses the need to invert large covariance matrices. Our experiments show that our model is able to fit a regression model for a dataset with 6 million entries two orders of magnitude faster compared to standard sparse GPs, while retaining state of the art accuracy. We also demonstrate competitive performance on classification with non-conjugate likelihoods.</p>