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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 structured prediction is to build machine learning models that predict relational information that itself has structure, such as being composed of multiple interrelated parts. These models, which reflect prior knowledge, task-specific relations, and constraints, are used in fields including computer vision, speech recognition, natural language processing, and computational biology. They can carry out such tasks as predicting a natural language sentence, or segmenting an image into meaningful components.

Sparse modeling is a rapidly developing area at the intersection of statistical learning and signal processing, motivated by the age-old statistical problem of selecting a small number of predictive variables in high-dimensional datasets. This collection describes key approaches in sparse modeling, focusing on its applications in fields including neuroscience, computational biology, and computer vision.

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.

Building Blocks for Complex Adaptive Systems

Complex adaptive systems (cas), including ecosystems, governments, biological cells, and markets, are characterized by intricate hierarchical arrangements of boundaries and signals. In ecosystems, for example, niches act as semi-permeable boundaries, and smells and visual patterns serve as signals; governments have departmental hierarchies with memoranda acting as signals; and so it is with other cas. Despite a wealth of data and descriptions concerning different cas, there remain many unanswered questions about "steering" these systems.

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.

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