Krylov subspace methods for approximating functions of symmetric positive definite matrices with applications to applied statistics and anomalous diffusion

Simpson, Daniel Peter (2008) Krylov subspace methods for approximating functions of symmetric positive definite matrices with applications to applied statistics and anomalous diffusion. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Matrix function approximation is a current focus of worldwide interest and finds application in a variety of areas of applied mathematics and statistics. In this thesis we focus on the approximation of A^(-α/2)b, where A ∈ ℝ^(n×n) is a large, sparse symmetric positive definite matrix and b ∈ ℝ^n is a vector. In particular, we will focus on matrix function techniques for sampling from Gaussian Markov random fields in applied statistics and the solution of fractional-in-space partial differential equations.

Gaussian Markov random fields (GMRFs) are multivariate normal random variables characterised by a sparse precision (inverse covariance) matrix. GMRFs are popular models in computational spatial statistics as the sparse structure can be exploited, typically through the use of the sparse Cholesky decomposition, to construct fast sampling methods. It is well known, however, that for sufficiently large problems, iterative methods for solving linear systems outperform direct methods.

Fractional-in-space partial differential equations arise in models of processes undergoing anomalous diffusion. Unfortunately, as the fractional Laplacian is a non-local operator, numerical methods based on the direct discretisation of these equations typically requires the solution of dense linear systems, which is impractical for fine discretisations.

In this thesis, novel applications of Krylov subspace approximations to matrix functions for both of these problems are investigated. Matrix functions arise when sampling from a GMRF by noting that the Cholesky decomposition A = LL^T is, essentially, a `square root' of the precision matrix A. Therefore, we can replace the usual sampling method, which forms x = L^(-T)z, with x = A^(-1/2)z, where z is a vector of independent and identically distributed standard normal random variables. Similarly, the matrix transfer technique can be used to build solutions to the fractional Poisson equation of the form ϕn = A^(-α/2)b, where A is the finite difference approximation to the Laplacian. Hence both applications require the approximation of f(A)b, where f(t) = t^(-α/2) and A is sparse. In this thesis we will compare the Lanczos approximation, the shift-and-invert Lanczos approximation, the extended Krylov subspace method, rational approximations and the restarted Lanczos approximation for approximating matrix functions of this form.

A number of new and novel results are presented in this thesis. Firstly, we prove the convergence of the matrix transfer technique for the solution of the fractional Poisson equation and we give conditions by which the finite difference discretisation can be replaced by other methods for discretising the Laplacian. We then investigate a number of methods for approximating matrix functions of the form A^(-α/2)b and investigate stopping criteria for these methods. In particular, we derive a new method for restarting the Lanczos approximation to f(A)b. We then apply these techniques to the problem of sampling from a GMRF and construct a full suite of methods for sampling conditioned on linear constraints and approximating the likelihood. Finally, we consider the problem of sampling from a generalised Matern random field, which combines our techniques for solving fractional-in-space partial differential equations with our method for sampling from GMRFs.

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ID Code: 29751
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Turner, Ian & Pettitt, Anthony
Keywords: Fractional Laplacian, Fractional Poisson equation, Generalised Matern random field, Gaussian Markov random field, Krylov subspace, Lanczos approximation, M-Lanczos approximation, Matrix Functions, Matrix transfer technique, Restarted Lanczos approximation, Stieltjes transform
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Past > Schools > Mathematical Sciences
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 18 Jan 2010 04:39
Last Modified: 20 Nov 2012 01:51

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