The Elliptical Processes: a Family of Fat-tailed Stochastic Processes

Maria Bånkestad, Jens Sjölund, Jalil Taghia, Thomas Schön

We present the elliptical processes -- a family of non-parametric probabilistic models that subsumes the Gaussian process and the Student-t process. This generalization includes a range of new fat-tailed behaviors yet retains computational tractability. We base the elliptical processes on a representation of elliptical distributions as a continuous mixture of Gaussian distributions and derive closed-form expressions for the marginal and conditional distributions. We perform numerical experiments on robust regression using an elliptical process defined by a piecewise constant mixing distribution, and show advantages compared with a Gaussian process. The elliptical processes may become a replacement for Gaussian processes in several settings, including when the likelihood is not Gaussian or when accurate tail modeling is critical.

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