An Introduction to Modern Statistical Learning

by   Joseph G. Makin, et al.

This work in progress aims to provide a unified introduction to statistical learning, building up slowly from classical models like the GMM and HMM to modern neural networks like the VAE and diffusion models. There are today many internet resources that explain this or that new machine-learning algorithm in isolation, but they do not (and cannot, in so brief a space) connect these algorithms with each other or with the classical literature on statistical models, out of which the modern algorithms emerged. Also conspicuously lacking is a single notational system which, although unfazing to those already familiar with the material (like the authors of these posts), raises a significant barrier to the novice's entry. Likewise, I have aimed to assimilate the various models, wherever possible, to a single framework for inference and learning, showing how (and why) to change one model into another with minimal alteration (some of them novel, others from the literature). Some background is of course necessary. I have assumed the reader is familiar with basic multivariable calculus, probability and statistics, and linear algebra. The goal of this book is certainly not completeness, but rather to draw a more or less straight-line path from the basics to the extremely powerful new models of the last decade. The goal then is to complement, not replace, such comprehensive texts as Bishop's Pattern Recognition and Machine Learning, which is now 15 years old.


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