Academic Editor: F. Marcellan
Copyright © 2010 Ralf Zimmermann. This is an open access article distributed under the
Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
The covariance structure of spatial Gaussian predictors (aka Kriging predictors)
is generally modeled by parameterized covariance functions; the associated hyperparameters in turn are estimated via the method of maximum likelihood. In this work, the asymptotic behavior of the maximum likelihood of spatial Gaussian predictor
models as a function of its hyperparameters is investigated theoretically. Asymptotic sandwich bounds for the maximum likelihood function in terms of the condition number of the associated covariance matrix are established. As a consequence, the main result is obtained: optimally trained nondegenerate spatial Gaussian processes cannot feature arbitrary ill-conditioned correlation matrices. The implication of this theorem on Kriging hyperparameter optimization is exposed. A nonartificial example is presented, where maximum likelihood-based Kriging model training is necessarily bound to fail.