Gaussian Processes for Machine Learning
Gaussian processes (GPs) provide a principled, practical, probabilistic approach to learning in kernel machines. GPs have received increased attention in the machine-learning community over the past decade, and this book provides a long-needed systematic and unified treatment of theoretical and practical aspects of GPs in machine learning. The treatment is comprehensive and self-contained, targeted at researchers and students in machine learning and applied statistics.
The book deals with the supervised-learning problem for both regression and classification, and includes detailed algorithms. A wide variety of covariance (kernel) functions are presented and their properties discussed. Model selection is discussed both from a Bayesian and a classical perspective. Many connections to other well-known techniques from machine learning and statistics are discussed, including support-vector machines, neural networks, splines, regularization networks, relevance vector machines and others. Theoretical issues including learning curves and the PAC-Bayesian framework are treated, and several approximation methods for learning with large datasets are discussed. The book contains illustrative examples and exercises, and code and datasets are available on the Web. Appendixes provide mathematical background and a discussion of Gaussian Markov processes.
In this book we will be concerned with supervised learning, which is the problem of learning input-output mappings from empirical data (the training dataset). Depending on the characteristics of the output, this problem is known as either regression, for continuous outputs, or classification, when outputs are discrete.
The book is primarily intended for graduate students and researchers in intended audience machine learning at departments of Computer Science, Statistics and Applied Mathematics. As prerequisites we require a good basic grounding in calculus, linear algebra and probability theory as would be obtained by graduates in numerate disciplines such as electrical engineering, physics and computer science. For preparation in calculus and linear algebra any good university-level textbook on mathematics for physics or engineering such as Arfken  would be fine. For probability theory some familiarity with multivariate distributions (especially the Gaussian) and conditional probability is required. Some background mathematical material is also provided.
The main focus of the book is to present clearly and concisely an overview focus of the main ideas of Gaussian processes in a machine learning context. We have also covered a wide range of connections to existing models in the literature, and cover approximate inference for faster practical algorithms. We have presented detailed algorithms for many methods to aid the practitioner. Software implementations are available from the website for the book. We have also included a small set of exercises in each chapter; we hope these will help in gaining a deeper understanding of the material.