I'm struggling with deriving the marginalization of Gaussian canonical form.

Suppose a joint Gaussian $x = [x_1 \ x_2]^T$ in the moment form \begin{align} p(x;\mu,\Sigma) = \frac{1}{\sqrt{(2\pi)^d|\Sigma|}} \exp \left( -\frac{1}{2}(x-\mu)^T\Sigma^{-1}(x-\mu) \right), \end{align} where \begin{align} \mu=\begin{bmatrix} \mu_1 \\ \mu_2 \end{bmatrix}, \end{align} \begin{align} \Sigma=\begin{bmatrix} \Sigma_{11} & \Sigma_{12} \\ \Sigma_{21} & \Sigma_{22} \end{bmatrix}. \end{align} Its canonical form is \begin{align} p(x;\eta,\Lambda) = \frac{|\Lambda|}{\sqrt{(2\pi)^d}} \exp \left( -\frac{1}{2}x^T \Lambda x + \eta^T x - \frac{1}{2} (\eta^T \Lambda \eta) \right), \end{align} where \begin{align} \eta = \Sigma^{-1} \mu = \begin{bmatrix} \eta_1 \\ \eta_2 \end{bmatrix}, \end{align} \begin{align} \Lambda = \Sigma^{-1} = \begin{bmatrix} \Lambda_{11} & \Lambda_{12} \\ \Lambda_{21} & \Lambda_{22} \end{bmatrix}. \end{align} We can use elementary transformation to derive \begin{align} \Lambda = \begin{bmatrix} \Sigma_{11} & \Sigma_{12} \\ \Sigma_{21} & \Sigma_{22} \end{bmatrix}^{-1} = \begin{bmatrix} \Sigma_{11}^{-1}+\Sigma_{11}^{-1}\Sigma_{12} (\Sigma/\Sigma_{11}) \Sigma_{21}\Sigma_{11}^{-1} & -\Sigma_{11}^{-1}\Sigma_{12}(\Sigma/\Sigma_{11}) \\ -(\Sigma/\Sigma_{11})\Sigma_{21}\Sigma_{11} & (\Sigma/\Sigma_{11}) \end{bmatrix}, \end{align} where $(\Sigma/\Sigma_{11})=\Sigma_{22}-\Sigma_{21}\Sigma_{11}^{-1}\Sigma_{12}$ is the Schur complement of $\Sigma$ w.r.t. $\Sigma_{11}$.

With the above notation, we can write the marginal and conditional in the moment form as follows. \begin{align} \mu_1^\text{Marg} &= \mu_1 \\ \Sigma_1^\text{Marg} &= \Sigma_{11} \end{align} \begin{align} \mu_{2|1}^\text{Cond} &= \mu_2 + \Sigma_{21}\Sigma_{11}^{-1}(x_1-\mu_1)\\ \Sigma_{2|1}^\text{Cond} &= (\Sigma/\Sigma_{11}) = \Sigma_{22}-\Sigma_{21}\Sigma_{11}^{-1}\Sigma_{12}. \end{align}

I understand that with the moment form, this can be done by manipulating the quadratic polynomial in the exponential into $p(X_1)$ and $p(X_2 \mid X_1)$. But I'm stuck at deriving the marginal and conditional in the canonical form \begin{align} \Lambda_{2|1}^\text{Cond} &= \Lambda_{22} \\ \eta_{2|1}^\text{Cond} &= \eta_2 - \Lambda_{21} x_1 \end{align} \begin{align} \Lambda_{1}^\text{Marg} &= \Lambda_{11} - \Lambda_{12} \Lambda_{22}^{-1} \Lambda_{21} \\ \eta_{1}^\text{Marg} &= \eta_1 - \Lambda_{12} \Lambda_{22}^{-1} \eta_2. \end{align}

I guess I should also begin with the joint distribution and do some manipulation to obtain $p(X_1)$ and $p(X_2 | X_1)$ \begin{align} p(x;\eta,\Lambda) = \frac{|\Lambda|}{\sqrt{(2\pi)^d}} \exp \left( -\frac{1}{2} \begin{bmatrix}x_1 \\ x_2\end{bmatrix}^T \begin{bmatrix} \Lambda_{11} & \Lambda_{12} \\ \Lambda_{21} & \Lambda_{22} \end{bmatrix}\begin{bmatrix}x_1 \\ x_2\end{bmatrix} + \begin{bmatrix}\eta_1 \\ \eta_2\end{bmatrix}^T \begin{bmatrix}x_1 \\ x_2\end{bmatrix} - \frac{1}{2} (\eta^T \Lambda \eta) \right) \end{align}

But I cannot split this thing into the correct marginal and conditional. Any help would be appreciated!

Reference: https://people.eecs.berkeley.edu/~jordan/courses/260-spring10/other-readings/chapter13.pdf


1 Answer 1


Since the vector $X=[X_1,...,X_d]^T$ is normal, its elements are jointly normal, i.e., any linear combination of them is normal. Let $a=[1, 0, ...,0]^T$, then $X_1 = a^T X$ is normal with mean and variance as follows.

$\mu_{X_1}=E\{X_1\}=a^T E\{X\} = a^T \mu = \mu_1$, and

$\sigma_{X_1}^2=E\{(X_1-\mu_1)(X_1-\mu_1)^T\} = a^TE\{(X-\mu)^T(X-\mu)\}a=a^T\Sigma a=\Sigma_{11}$.

Choosing $a\in \{0,1\}^d$ accordingly, you may derive all marginal distribution. As for the conditional distributions, applying $a$ results in the omission of the rows and columns of $\Sigma$ corresponding to the non-zero elements of $a$. Since the determinant of product is the product of determinants, the normalizing factor also checks out.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the reply! You have given a good method for inferencing the moment form, i.e. $\mu$ and $\Sigma$. So what about the marginal and conditional in the canonical form that I am asking, i.e. $\eta$ and $\Lambda$? Do you have any idea about that? $\endgroup$
    – donets20
    Jan 2, 2021 at 10:24
  • $\begingroup$ You are welcome. Sure you can find the any conditional pdf. Just start from the definition, $f(x|y)=\frac{f(x,y)}{f(y)}$. The trick is, calculating the argument of the exponential, the elements of the denominator cancel out. You may just reduce the size of the covariance matrix to its rank, by omitting the rows and columns that are being canceled out. The same goes with the coefficient. $\endgroup$
    – Arash
    Jan 2, 2021 at 11:33
  • $\begingroup$ Instead of vector $a$, apply the matrix $A=diag(a)$, i.e., instead of $a^Tx$ for one element, you know have $Ax$ for a number of elements. $\endgroup$
    – Arash
    Jan 2, 2021 at 12:07

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