## University of Cambridge.

### BibTeX

@MISC{_universityof,

author = {},

title = {University of Cambridge.},

year = {}

}

### OpenURL

### Abstract

Bayesian inference offers us a powerful tool with which to tackle the problem of data modelling. However, the performance of Bayesian methods is crucially dependent on being able to find good models for our data. The principal focus of this thesis is the development of models based on Gaussian process priors. Such models, which can be thought of as the infinite extension of several existing finite models, have the flexibility to model complex phenomena while being mathematically simple. In this thesis, I present a review of the theory of Gaussian processes and their covariance functions and demonstrate how they fit into the Bayesian framework. The efficient implementation of a Gaussian process is discussed with particular reference to approximate methods for matrix inversion based on the work of Skilling (1993). Several regression problems are examined. Nonstationary covariance functions are developed for the regression of neuron spike data and the use of Gaussian processes to model the potential energy surfaces of weakly bound molecules is discussed. Classification methods based on Gaussian processes are implemented using variational methods. Existing bounds (Jaakkola and Jordan 1996) for the sigmoid function are used to tackle binary problems and multi-dimensional bounds on the softmax function are presented for the multiple class case. The performance of the variational classifier is compared with that of other methods using the CRABS and PIMA datasets (Ripley 1996) and the problem of predicting the cracking of welds based on their chemical composition is also investigated. The theoretical calculation of the density of states of crystal structures is discussed in detail. Three possible approaches to the problem are described based on free energy minimization, Gaussian processes and the theory of random matrices. Results from these approaches are compared with the state-of-the-art techniques (Pickard 1997)