Scalable Computation of Predictive Probabilities in Probit Models with Gaussian Process Priors

Jian Cao, Daniele Durante, Marc G. Genton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Predictive models for binary data are fundamental in various fields, and the growing complexity of modern applications has motivated several flexible specifications for modeling the relationship between the observed predictors and the binary responses. A widely-implemented solution is to express the probability parameter via a probit mapping of a Gaussian process indexed by predictors. However, unlike for continuous settings, there is a lack of closed-form results for predictive distributions in binary models with Gaussian process priors. Markov chain Monte Carlo methods and approximation strategies provide common solutions to this problem, but state-of-the-art algorithms are either computationally intractable or inaccurate in moderate-to-high dimensions. In this article, we aim to cover this gap by deriving closed-form expressions for the predictive probabilities in probit Gaussian processes that rely either on cumulative distribution functions of multivariate Gaussians or on functionals of multivariate truncated normals. To evaluate these quantities we develop novel scalable solutions based on tile-low-rank Monte Carlo methods for computing multivariate Gaussian probabilities, and on mean-field variational approximations of multivariate truncated normals. Closed-form expressions for the marginal likelihood and for the posterior distribution of the Gaussian process are also discussed. As shown in simulated and real-world empirical studies, the proposed methods scale to dimensions where state-of-the-art solutions are impractical.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
StatePublished - Apr 24 2022

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2022-04-05
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): OSR-2018-CRG7-3742
Acknowledgements: This publication is based upon work supported by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) Office of Sponsored Research (OSR) under Award No: OSR-2018-CRG7-3742.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Discrete Mathematics and Combinatorics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty


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