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. Subjects include supervised learning; Bayesian decision theory; parametric, semi-parametric, and nonparametric methods; multivariate analysis; hidden Markov models; reinforcement learning; kernel machines; graphical models; Bayesian estimation; and statistical testing. Machine learning is rapidly becoming a skill that computer science students must master before graduation.

van de Meent, Jan-Willem, Paige, Brooks, Wood, Frank

In this paper we demonstrate that tempering Markov chain Monte Carlo samplers for Bayesian models by recursively subsampling observations without replacement can improve the performance of baseline samplers in terms of effective sample size per computation. We present two tempering by subsampling algorithms, subsampled parallel tempering and subsampled tempered transitions. We provide an asymptotic analysis of the computational cost of tempering by subsampling, verify that tempering by subsampling costs less than traditional tempering, and demonstrate both algorithms on Bayesian approaches to learning the mean of a high dimensional multivariate Normal and estimating Gaussian process hyperparameters.

We present pomegranate, an open source machine learning package for probabilistic modeling in Python. Probabilistic modeling encompasses a wide range of methods that explicitly describe uncertainty using probability distributions. Three widely used probabilistic models implemented in pomegranate are general mixture models, hidden Markov models, and Bayesian networks. A primary focus of pomegranate is to abstract away the complexities of training models from their definition. This allows users to focus on specifying the correct model for their application instead of being limited by their understanding of the underlying algorithms. An aspect of this focus involves the collection of additive sufficient statistics from data sets as a strategy for training models. This approach trivially enables many useful learning strategies, such as out-of-core learning, minibatch learning, and semi-supervised learning, without requiring the user to consider how to partition data or modify the algorithms to handle these tasks themselves. pomegranate is written in Cython to speed up calculations and releases the global interpreter lock to allow for built-in multithreaded parallelism, making it competitive with---or outperform---other implementations of similar algorithms. This paper presents an overview of the design choices in pomegranate, and how they have enabled complex features to be supported by simple code.

Chow and Liu (1968) studied the problem of learning a maximumlikelihood Markov tree. We generalize their work to more complexMarkov networks by considering the problem of learning a maximumlikelihood Markov network of bounded complexity. We discuss howtree-width is in many ways the appropriate measure of complexity andthus analyze the problem of learning a maximum likelihood Markovnetwork of bounded tree-width.Similar to the work of Chow and Liu, we are able to formalize thelearning problem as a combinatorial optimization problem on graphs. Weshow that learning a maximum likelihood Markov network of boundedtree-width is equivalent to finding a maximum weight hypertree. Thisequivalence gives rise to global, integer-programming based,approximation algorithms with provable performance guarantees, for thelearning problem. This contrasts with heuristic local-searchalgorithms which were previously suggested (e.g. by Malvestuto 1991).The equivalence also allows us to study the computational hardness ofthe learning problem. We show that learning a maximum likelihoodMarkov network of bounded tree-width is NP-hard, and discuss thehardness of approximation.

Due to the intractable partition function, the exact likelihood function for a Markov random field (MRF), in many situations, can only be approximated. Major approximation approaches include pseudolikelihood and Laplace approximation. In this paper, we propose a novel way of approximating the likelihood function through first approximating the marginal likelihood functions of individual parameters and then reconstructing the joint likelihood function from these marginal likelihood functions. For approximating the marginal likelihood functions, we derive a particular likelihood function from a modified scenario of coin tossing which is useful for capturing how one parameter interacts with the remaining parameters in the likelihood function. For reconstructing the joint likelihood function, we use an appropriate copula to link up these marginal likelihood functions. Numerical investigation suggests the superior performance of our approach. Especially as the size of the MRF increases, both the numerical performance and the computational cost of our approach remain consistently satisfactory, whereas Laplace approximation deteriorates and pseudolikelihood becomes computationally unbearable.