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Machine Learning and Adaptive Computation

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A Primer

This book offers a concise and accessible introduction to the emerging field of artificial cognitive systems. Cognition, both natural and artificial, is about anticipating the need for action and developing the capacity to predict the outcome of those actions. Drawing on artificial intelligence, developmental psychology, and cognitive neuroscience, the field of artificial cognitive systems has as its ultimate goal the creation of computer-based systems that can interact with humans and serve society in a variety of ways.

The goal of machine learning is to program computers to use example data or past experience to solve a given problem. Many successful applications of machine learning exist already, including systems that analyze past sales data to predict customer behavior, optimize robot behavior so that a task can be completed using minimum resources, and extract knowledge from bioinformatics data. Introduction to Machine Learning is a comprehensive textbook on the subject, covering a broad array of topics not usually included in introductory machine learning texts.

A Probabilistic Perspective

Today’s Web-enabled deluge of electronic data calls for automated methods of data analysis. Machine learning provides these, developing methods that can automatically detect patterns in data and then use the uncovered patterns to predict future data. This textbook offers a comprehensive and self-contained introduction to the field of machine learning, based on a unified, probabilistic approach.

This graduate-level textbook introduces fundamental concepts and methods in machine learning. It describes several important modern algorithms, provides the theoretical underpinnings of these algorithms, and illustrates key aspects for their application. The authors aim to present novel theoretical tools and concepts while giving concise proofs even for relatively advanced topics.

Foundations and Algorithms

Boosting is an approach to machine learning based on the idea of creating a highly accurate predictor by combining many weak and inaccurate “rules of thumb.” A remarkably rich theory has evolved around boosting, with connections to a range of topics, including statistics, game theory, convex optimization, and information geometry. Boosting algorithms have also enjoyed practical success in such fields as biology, vision, and speech processing. At various times in its history, boosting has been perceived as mysterious, controversial, even paradoxical.

Principles and Techniques

Most tasks require a person or an automated system to reason--to reach conclusions based on available information. The framework of probabilistic graphical models, presented in this book, provides a general approach for this task. The approach is model-based, allowing interpretable models to be constructed and then manipulated by reasoning algorithms. These models can also be learned automatically from data, allowing the approach to be used in cases where manually constructing a model is difficult or even impossible.

A Unified Approach

Evolutionary computation, the use of evolutionary systems as computational processes for solving complex problems, is a tool used by computer scientists and engineers who want to harness the power of evolution to build useful new artifacts, by biologists interested in developing and testing better models of natural evolutionary systems, and by artificial life scientists for designing and implementing new artificial evolutionary worlds. In this clear and comprehensive introduction to the field, Kenneth De Jong presents an integrated view of the state of the art in evolutionary computation.

The ubiquity of combinatorial optimization problems in our society is illustrated by the novel application areas for optimization technology, which range from supply chain management to sports tournament scheduling. Over the last two decades, constraint programming has emerged as a fundamental methodology to solve a variety of combinatorial problems, and rich constraint programming languages have been developed for expressing and combining constraints and specifying search procedures at a high level of abstraction.

The Biology, Intelligence, and Technology of Self-Organizing Machines

Evolutionary robotics is a new technique for the automatic creation of autonomous robots. Inspired by the Darwinian principle of selective reproduction of the fittest, it views robots as autonomous artificial organisms that develop their own skills in close interaction with the environment and without human intervention. Drawing heavily on biology and ethology, it uses the tools of neural networks, genetic algorithms, dynamic systems, and biomorphic engineering.

The Machine Learning Approach

An unprecedented wealth of data is being generated by genome sequencing projects and other experimental efforts to determine the structure and function of biological molecules. The demands and opportunities for interpreting these data are expanding rapidly. Bioinformatics is the development and application of computer methods for management, analysis, interpretation, and prediction, as well as for the design of experiments.

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