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Machine Learning and Adaptive Computation

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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.

Introduction to Covariate Shift Adaptation

As the power of computing has grown over the past few decades, the field of machine learning has advanced rapidly in both theory and practice. Machine learning methods are usually based on the assumption that the data generation mechanism does not change over time. Yet real-world applications of machine learning, including image recognition, natural language processing, speech recognition, robot control, and bioinformatics, often violate this common assumption. Dealing with non-stationarity is one of modern machine learning’s greatest challenges.

The interplay between optimization and machine learning is one of the most important developments in modern computational science. Optimization formulations and methods are proving to be vital in designing algorithms to extract essential knowledge from huge volumes of data. Machine learning, however, is not simply a consumer of optimization technology but a rapidly evolving field that is itself generating new optimization ideas. This book captures the state of the art of the interaction between optimization and machine learning in a way that is accessible to researchers in both fields.

This volume demonstrates the power of the Markov random field (MRF) in vision, treating the MRF both as a tool for modeling image data and, utilizing recently developed algorithms, as a means of making inferences about images. These inferences concern underlying image and scene structure as well as solutions to such problems as image reconstruction, image segmentation, 3D vision, and object labeling. It offers key findings and state-of-the-art research on both algorithms and applications.

Using Complex Lexical Descriptions in Natural Language Processing

The last decade has seen computational implementations of large hand-crafted natural language grammars in formal frameworks such as Tree-Adjoining Grammar (TAG), Combinatory Categorical Grammar (CCG), Head-driven Phrase Structure Grammar (HPSG), and Lexical Functional Grammar (LFG). Grammars in these frameworks typically associate linguistically motivated rich descriptions (Supertags) with words.

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.

Computational systems biology aims to develop algorithms that uncover the structure and parameterization of the underlying mechanistic model—in other words, to answer specific questions about the underlying mechanisms of a biological system—in a process that can be thought of as learning or inference. This volume offers state-of-the-art perspectives from computational biology, statistics, modeling, and machine learning on new methodologies for learning and inference in biological networks.

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.

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