## Publications

#### Student-t Processes as Alternatives to Gaussian Processes

Amar Shah, Andrew Gordon Wilson, Zoubin Ghahramani, 2014. (In AISTATS). JMLR.org. JMLR Proceedings.

Abstract▼ URL

We investigate the Student-t process as an alternative to the Gaussian process as a nonparametric prior over functions. We derive closed form expressions for the marginal likelihood and predictive distribution of a Student-t process, by integrating away an inverse Wishart process prior over the covariance kernel of a Gaussian process model. We show surprising equivalences between different hierarchical Gaussian process models leading to Student-t processes, and derive a new sampling scheme for the inverse Wishart process, which helps elucidate these equivalences. Overall, we show that a Student-t process can retain the attractive properties of a Gaussian process – a nonparametric representation, analytic marginal and predictive distributions, and easy model selection through covariance kernels – but has enhanced flexibility, and predictive covariances that, unlike a Gaussian process, explicitly depend on the values of training observations. We verify empirically that a Student-t process is especially useful in situations where there are changes in covariance structure, or in applications like Bayesian optimization, where accurate predictive covariances are critical for good performance. These advantages come at no additional computational cost over Gaussian processes.

#### Covariance Kernels for Fast Automatic Pattern Discovery and Extrapolation with Gaussian Processes

Andrew Gordon Wilson, 2014. University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

Abstract▼ URL

Truly intelligent systems are capable of pattern discovery and extrapolation without human intervention. Bayesian nonparametric models, which can uniquely represent expressive prior information and detailed inductive biases, provide a distinct opportunity to develop intelligent systems, with applications in essentially any learning and prediction task. Gaussian processes are rich distributions over functions, which provide a Bayesian nonparametric approach to smoothing and interpolation. A covariance kernel determines the support and inductive biases of a Gaussian process. In this thesis, we introduce new covariance kernels to enable fast automatic pattern discovery and extrapolation with Gaussian processes. In the introductory chapter, we discuss the high level principles behind all of the models in this thesis: 1) we can typically improve the predictive performance of a model by accounting for additional structure in data; 2) to automatically discover rich structure in data, a model must have large support and the appropriate inductive biases; 3) we most need expressive models for large datasets, which typically provide more information for learning structure, and 4) we can often exploit the existing inductive biases (assumptions) or structure of a model for scalable inference, without the need for simplifying assumptions. In the context of this introduction, we then discuss, in chapter 2, Gaussian processes as kernel machines, and my views on the future of Gaussian process research. In chapter 3 we introduce the Gaussian process regression network (GPRN) framework, a multi-output Gaussian process method which scales to many output variables, and accounts for input-dependent correlations between the outputs. Underlying the GPRN is a highly expressive kernel, formed using an adaptive mixture of latent basis functions in a neural network like architecture. The GPRN is capable of discovering expressive structure in data. We use the GPRN to model the time-varying expression levels of 1000 genes, the spatially varying concentrations of several distinct heavy metals, and multivariate volatility (input dependent noise covariances) between returns on equity indices and currency exchanges, which is particularly valuable for portfolio allocation. We generalise the GPRN to an adaptive network framework, which does not depend on Gaussian processes or Bayesian nonparametrics; and we outline applications for the adaptive network in nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, ensemble learning, and change-point modelling. In chapter 4 we introduce simple closed form kernel for automatic pattern discovery and extrapolation. These spectral mixture (SM) kernels are derived by modelling the spectral densiy of a kernel (its Fourier transform) using a scale-location Gaussian mixture. SM kernels form a basis for all stationary covariances, and can be used as a drop-in replacement for standard kernels, as they retain simple and exact learning and inference procedures. We use the SM kernel to discover patterns and perform long range extrapolation on atmospheric CO2 trends and airline passenger data, as well as on synthetic examples. We also show that the SM kernel can be used to automatically reconstruct several standard covariances. The SM kernel and the GPRN are highly complementary; we show that using the SM kernel with adaptive basis functions in a GPRN induces an expressive prior over non-stationary kernels. In chapter 5 we introduce GPatt, a method for fast multidimensional pattern extrapolation, particularly suited to imge and movie data. Without human intervention – no hand crafting of kernel features, and no sophisticated initialisation procedures – we show that GPatt can solve large scale pattern extrapolation, inpainting and kernel discovery problems, including a problem with 383,400 training points. GPatt exploits the structure of a spectral mixture product (SMP) kernel, for fast yet exact inference procedures. We find that GPatt significantly outperforms popular alternative scalable gaussian process methods in speed and accuracy. Moreover, we discover profound differences between each of these methods, suggesting expressive kernels, nonparametric representations, and scalable inference which exploits existing model structure are useful in combination for modelling large scale multidimensional patterns. The models in this dissertation have proven to be scalable and with greatly enhanced predictive performance over the alternatives: the extra structure being modelled is an important part of a wide variety of real data – including problems in econometrics, gene expression, geostatistics, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, ensemble learning, multi-output regression, change point modelling, time series, multivariate volatility, image inpainting, texture extrapolation, video extrapolation, acoustic modelling, and kernel discovery.

#### Gaussian Process Kernels for Pattern Discovery and Extrapolation

Andrew Gordon Wilson, Ryan Prescott Adams, February 18 2013. (In 30th International Conference on Machine Learning).

Abstract▼ URL

Gaussian processes are rich distributions over functions, which provide a Bayesian nonparametric approach to smoothing and interpolation. We introduce simple closed form kernels that can be used with Gaussian processes to discover patterns and enable extrapolation. These kernels are derived by modelling a spectral density – the Fourier transform of a kernel – with a Gaussian mixture. The proposed kernels support a broad class of stationary covariances, but Gaussian process inference remains simple and analytic. We demonstrate the proposed kernels by discovering patterns and performing long range extrapolation on synthetic examples, as well as atmospheric CO2 trends and airline passenger data. We also show that we can reconstruct standard covariances within our framework.

**Comment:** arXiv:1302.4245

#### Copula Processes

Andrew Gordon Wilson, Zoubin Ghahramani, 2010. (In Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 23). **Note**: Spotlight.

Abstract▼ URL

We define a copula process which describes the dependencies between arbitrarily many random variables independently of their marginal distributions. As an example, we develop a stochastic volatility model, Gaussian Copula Process Volatility (GCPV), to predict the latent standard deviations of a sequence of random variables. To make predictions we use Bayesian inference, with the Laplace approximation, and with Markov chain Monte Carlo as an alternative. We find our model can outperform GARCH on simulated and financial data. And unlike GARCH, GCPV can easily handle missing data, incorporate covariates other than time, and model a rich class of covariance structures.

**Comment:** Supplementary Material, slides.

#### Generalised Wishart Processes

Andrew Gordon Wilson, Zoubin Ghahramani, 2011. (In 27th Conference on Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence).

Abstract▼ URL

We introduce a new stochastic process called the generalised Wishart process (GWP). It is a collection of positive semi-definite random matrices indexed by any arbitrary input variable. We use this process as a prior over dynamic (e.g. time varying) covariance matrices. The GWP captures a diverse class of covariance dynamics, naturally hanles missing data, scales nicely with dimension, has easily interpretable parameters, and can use input variables that include covariates other than time. We describe how to construct the GWP, introduce general procedures for inference and prediction, and show that it outperforms its main competitor, multivariate GARCH, even on financial data that especially suits GARCH.

**Comment:** Supplementary Material, Best Student Paper Award

#### Modelling Input Varying Correlations between Multiple Responses

Andrew Gordon Wilson, Zoubin Ghahramani, 2012. (In ECML/PKDD). Edited by Peter A. Flach, Tijl De Bie, Nello Cristianini. Springer. Lecture Notes in Computer Science. **ISBN**: 978-3-642-33485-6.

Abstract▼ URL

We introduced a generalised Wishart process (GWP) for modelling input dependent covariance matrices Σ(x), allowing one to model input varying correlations and uncertainties between multiple response variables. The GWP can naturally scale to thousands of response variables, as opposed to competing multivariate volatility models which are typically intractable for greater than 5 response variables. The GWP can also naturally capture a rich class of covariance dynamics – periodicity, Brownian motion, smoothness, …– through a covariance kernel.

#### GPatt: Fast Multidimensional Pattern Extrapolation with Gaussian Processes

Andrew Gordon Wilson, Elad Gilboa, Arye Nehorai, John P Cunningham, 2013. (arXiv preprint arXiv:1310.5288).

Abstract▼ URL

Gaussian processes are typically used for smoothing and interpolation on small datasets. We introduce a new Bayesian nonparametric framework – GPatt – enabling automatic pattern extrapolation with Gaussian processes on large multidimensional datasets. GPatt unifies and extends highly expressive kernels and fast exact inference techniques. Without human intervention – no hand crafting of kernel features, and no sophisticated initialisation procedures – we show that GPatt can solve large scale pattern extrapolation, inpainting, and kernel discovery problems, including a problem with 383,400 training points. We find that GPatt significantly outperforms popular alternative scalable Gaussian process methods in speed and accuracy. Moreover, we discover profound differences between each of these methods, suggesting expressive kernels, nonparametric representations, and scalable inference which exploits model structure are useful in combination for modelling large scale multidimensional patterns.

#### Gaussian Process Regression Networks

Andrew Gordon Wilson, David A Knowles, Zoubin Ghahramani, October 19 2011. Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

Abstract▼ URL

We introduce a new regression framework, Gaussian process regression networks (GPRN), which combines the structural properties of Bayesian neural networks with the non-parametric flexibility of Gaussian processes. This model accommodates input dependent signal and noise correlations between multiple response variables, input dependent length-scales and amplitudes, and heavy-tailed predictive distributions. We derive both efficient Markov chain Monte Carlo and variational Bayes inference procedures for this model. We apply GPRN as a multiple output regression and multivariate volatility model, demonstrating substantially improved performance over eight popular multiple output (multi-task) Gaussian process models and three multivariate volatility models on benchmark datasets, including a 1000 dimensional gene expression dataset.

**Comment:** arXiv:1110.4411

#### Gaussian Process Regression Networks

Andrew Gordon Wilson, David A. Knowles, Zoubin Ghahramani, June 2012. (In 29th International Conference on Machine Learning). Edinburgh, Scotland.

Abstract▼ URL

We introduce a new regression framework, Gaussian process regression networks (GPRN), which combines the structural properties of Bayesian neural networks with the nonparametric flexibility of Gaussian processes. GPRN accommodates input (predictor) dependent signal and noise correlations between multiple output (response) variables, input dependent length-scales and amplitudes, and heavy-tailed predictive distributions. We derive both elliptical slice sampling and variational Bayes inference procedures for GPRN. We apply GPRN as a multiple output regression and multivariate volatility model, demonstrating substantially improved performance over eight popular multiple output (multi-task) Gaussian process models and three multivariate volatility models on real datasets, including a 1000 dimensional gene expression dataset.

#### Bayesian Inference for NMR Spectroscopy with Applications to Chemical Quantification

Andrew Gordon Wilson, Yuting Wu, Daniel J. Holland, Sebastian Nowozin, Mick D. Mantle, Lynn F. Gladden, Andrew Blake, 2014. (arXiv preprint arXiv 1402.3580).

Abstract▼ URL

Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy exploits the magnetic properties of atomic nuclei to discover the structure, reaction state and chemical environment of molecules. We propose a probabilistic generative model and inference procedures for NMR spectroscopy. Specifically, we use a weighted sum of trigonometric functions undergoing exponential decay to model free induction decay (FID) signals. We discuss the challenges in estimating the components of this general model – amplitudes, phase shifts, frequencies, decay rates, and noise variances – and offer practical solutions. We compare with conventional Fourier transform spectroscopy for estimating the relative concentrations of chemicals in a mixture, using synthetic and experimentally acquired FID signals. We find the proposed model is particularly robust to low signal to noise ratios (SNR), and overlapping peaks in the Fourier transform of the FID, enabling accurate predictions (e.g., 1% error at low SNR) which are not possible with conventional spectroscopy (5% error).