Exploiting low-rank covariance structures for computing high-dimensional normal and Student-t probabilities

Jian Cao, Marc G. Genton, David E. Keyes, George M. Turkiyyah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


We present a preconditioned Monte Carlo method for computing high-dimensional multivariate normal and Student-t probabilities arising in spatial statistics. The approach combines a tile-low-rank representation of covariance matrices with a block-reordering scheme for efficient quasi-Monte Carlo simulation. The tile-low-rank representation decomposes the high-dimensional problem into many diagonal-block-size problems and low-rank connections. The block-reordering scheme reorders between and within the diagonal blocks to reduce the impact of integration variables from right to left, thus improving the Monte Carlo convergence rate. Simulations up to dimension 65,536 suggest that the new method can improve the run time by an order of magnitude compared with the hierarchical quasi-Monte Carlo method and two orders of magnitude compared with the dense quasi-Monte Carlo method. Our method also forms a strong substitute for the approximate conditioning methods as a more robust estimation with error guarantees. An application study to wind stochastic generators is provided to illustrate that the new computational method makes the maximum likelihood estimation feasible for high-dimensional skew-normal random fields.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalStatistics and Computing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 12 2021


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