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Slice sampling covariance hyperparameters of latent Gaussian models
Iain Murray · Ryan Adams

Wed Dec 08 11:30 AM -- 11:50 AM (PST) @ Regency Ballroom

The Gaussian process (GP) is a popular way to specify dependencies between random variables in a probabilistic model. In the Bayesian framework the covariance structure can be specified using unknown hyperparameters. Integrating over these hyperparameters considers different possible explanations for the data when making predictions. This integration is often performed using Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) sampling. However, with non-Gaussian observations standard hyperparameter sampling approaches require careful tuning and may converge slowly. In this paper we present a slice sampling approach that requires little tuning while mixing well in both strong- and weak-data regimes.

Author Information

Iain Murray (University of Edinburgh)

Iain Murray is a SICSA Lecturer in Machine Learning at the University of Edinburgh. Iain was introduced to machine learning by David MacKay and Zoubin Ghahramani, both previous NIPS tutorial speakers. He obtained his PhD in 2007 from the Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit at UCL. His thesis on Monte Carlo methods received an honourable mention for the ISBA Savage Award. He was a commonwealth fellow in Machine Learning at the University of Toronto, before moving to Edinburgh in 2010. Iain's research interests include building flexible probabilistic models of data, and probabilistic inference from indirect and uncertain observations. Iain is passionate about teaching. He has lectured at several Summer schools, is listed in the top 15 authors on videolectures.net, and was awarded the EUSA Van Heyningen Award for Teaching in Science and Engineering in 2015.

Ryan Adams (Princeton University)

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