Space, Observable and Range

Inside zfit, Space defines the domain of objects by specifying the observables/axes and maybe also the limits. Any model and data needs to be specified in a certain domain, which is usually done using the obs argument. It is crucial that the axis used by the observable of the data and the model match, and this matching is handle by the Space class.

obs = zfit.Space("x")
model = zfit.pdf.Gauss(obs=obs, ...)
data = zfit.Data.from_numpy(obs=obs, ...)


Space: an n-dimensional definition of a domain (either by using one or more observables or axes), with or without limits.


compared to `RooFit`, a space is **not* the equivalent of an observable but rather corresponds to an object combining a set of observables (which of course can be of size 1). Furthermore, there is a strong distinction in zfit between a Space (or observables) and a Parameter, both conceptually and in terms of implementation and usage.*

Observable: a string defining the axes; a named axes.

(for advanced usage only, can be skipped on first read) Axis: integer defining the axes internally of a model. There is always a mapping of observables <-> axes once inside a model.

Limit The range on a certain axis. Typically defines an interval.

Since every object has a well defined domain, it is possible to combine them in an unambiguous way

obs1 = zfit.Space(['x', 'y'])
obs2 = zfit.Space(['z', 'y'])

model1 = zfit.pdf.Gauss(obs=obs1, ...)
model2 = zfit.pdf.Gauss(obs=obs2, ...)

# creating a composite pdf
product = model1 * model2
# OR, equivalently
product = zfit.pdf.ProductPDF([model1, model2])

The product is now defined in the space with observables [‘x’, ‘y’, ‘z’]. Any Data object to be combined with product has to be specified in the same space.

# create the space
combined_obs = obs1 * obs2

data = zfit.Data.from_numpy(obs=combined_obs, ...)

Now we have a Data object that is defined in the same domain as product and can be used to build a loss function.


In many places, just defining the observables is not enough and an interval, specified by its limits, is required. Examples are a normalization range, the limits of an integration or sampling in a certain region.

Simple, 1-dimensional limits can be specified as follows. Operations like addition (creating a space with two intervals) or combination (increase the dimensionality) are also possible.

simple_limit1 = zfit.Space(obs='obs1', limits=(-5, 1))
simple_limit2 = zfit.Space(obs='obs1', limits=(3, 7.5))

added_limits = simple_limit1 + simple_limit2

In this case, added_limits is now a Space with observable ‘obs1’ defined in the intervals (-5, 1) and (3, 7.5). This can be useful, e.g., when fitting in two regions. An example of the product of different Space instances has been shown before as combined_obs.

Defining limits

To define simple, 1-dimensional limits, a tuple with two numbers is enough. For anything more complicated, the definition works as follows:

first_limit_lower = (low_1_obs1, low_1_obs2,...)
first_limit_upper = (up_1_obs1, up_1_obs2,...)

second_limit_lower = (low_2_obs1, low_2_obs2,...)
second_limit_upper = (up_2_obs1, up_2_obs2,...)


lower = (first_limit_lower, second_limit_lower, ...)
upper = (first_limit_upper, second_limit_upper, ...)

limits = (lower, upper)

space1 = zfit.Space(obs=['obs1', 'obs2', ...], limits=limits)

This defines the area from

  • low_1_obs1 to up_1_obs1 in the first observable ‘obs1’;

  • low_1_obs2 to up_1_obs2 in the second observable ‘obs2’;

the area from

  • low_2_obs1 to up_2_obs1 in the first observable ‘obs1’;

  • low_2_obs2 to up_2_obs2 in the second observable ‘obs2’;

and so on.

A working code example of Space handling is provided in in examples.