The tensor product kernel

General form

The zero-mean smooth GP \(\zeta(\mathbf{x})\) is characterized by its covariance kernel \(C_\zeta(\mathbf{x}, \mathbf{x}') := \mathbb{E}[\zeta(\mathbf{x}),\, \zeta(\mathbf{x}')]\). libKriging uses a specific form of covariance kernel \(C_\zeta(\mathbf{x},\,\mathbf{x}')\) on the input space \(\mathbb{R}^d\) which can be called tensor-product. With \(\mathbf{h} := \mathbf{x} - \mathbf{x}'\) the kernel value expresses as

\[ C_\zeta(\mathbf{x}, \, \mathbf{x}'; \boldsymbol{\theta}, \, \sigma^2) = C_\zeta(\mathbf{h}; \boldsymbol{\theta}, \, \sigma^2) = \sigma^2 \, \prod_{\ell = 1}^d \kappa(h_\ell / \theta_\ell) \]

where \(\kappa(h)\) is a stationary correlation kernel on \(\mathbb{R}\) and \(\boldsymbol{\theta}\) is a vector of \(d\) parameters \(\theta_\ell> 0\) called correlation ranges. See Stein [Ste12] for a discussion on the tensor product kernel a.k.a. separable kernel.

A further constraint used in libKriging is that \(\kappa(h)\) takes only positive values: \(\gamma(h) >0\) for all \(h\). With \(\lambda(h) := - \log \gamma(h)\) the derivative w.r.t. the correlation range \(\theta_\ell\) can be computed as

\[ \partial_{\theta_\ell} C_\zeta(\mathbf{h};\,\boldsymbol{\theta}) = \theta_\ell^{-2} \, \lambda'(h_{\ell} / \theta_\ell) \, C_\zeta(\mathbf{h};\,\boldsymbol{\theta}). \]

Available 1D correlation kernels

The 1D correlation kernels available are listed in the Table below. Remind that in this setting the smoothness of the paths of the GP \(\zeta(\mathbf{x})\) is controlled by the smoothness of the kernel \(C_\zeta(\mathbf{h})\) at \(\mathbf{h} = \mathbf{0}\) hence by the smoothness of the correlation kernel \(\kappa(h)\) for \(h=0\). Note that the 1D exponential kernel is not differentiable at \(h = 0\) and the corresponding paths are continuous but nowhere differentiable. The kernels are given in the table by order of increasing smoothness.

Note The Gaussian kernel is a radial kernel in the sense that it depends on \(\mathbf{h}\) only through its square norm \(\sum_\ell h_\ell^2 / \theta_\ell^2\).






\(\kappa(h) = \exp\{-\lvert h \rvert \}\)


Matérn whith shape \(3/2\)

\(\kappa(h) = [1 + z] \exp\{-z\}\), \(z := \sqrt{3} \, \lvert h \rvert\)


Matérn whith shape \(5/2\)

\(\kappa(h) = [1 + z + z^2/3] \exp\{-z\}\), \(z := \sqrt{5} \, \lvert h \rvert\)



\(\kappa(h) = \exp\{-h^2/2\}\)