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Pattern Recognition and Machine Learning

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Pattern recognition has its origins in engineering, whereas machine learning grew out of computer science. However, these activities can be viewed as two facets of the same field, and together they have undergone substantial development over the past ten years. In particular, Bayesian methods have grown from a specialist niche to become mainstream, while graphical models have emerged as a general framework for describing and applying probabilistic models. Also, the practical applicability of Bayesian methods has been greatly enhanced through the development of a range of approximate inference algorithms such as variational Bayes and expectation propagation. Similarly, new models based on kernels have had a significant impact on both algorithms and applications. This new textbook reflects these recent developments while providing a comprehensive introduction to the fields of pattern recognition and machine learning. It is aimed at advanced undergraduates or first-year PhD students, as well as researchers and practitioners, and assumes no previous knowledge of pattern recognition or machine learning concepts. Knowledge of multivariate calculus and basic linear algebra is required, and some familiarity with probabilities would be helpful though not essential as the book includes a self-contained introduction to basic probability theory.

738 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2006

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Christopher M. Bishop

5 books47 followers

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5 stars
905 (51%)
4 stars
561 (32%)
3 stars
205 (11%)
2 stars
62 (3%)
1 star
9 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 71 reviews
91 reviews5 followers
September 25, 2009
Even with the help of a nuclear physicists turned neurophysiology data analyst, I couldn’t work beyond the first four chapters, and perhaps only a percentage of those. However, the efforts are rewarding. If you have read the entirety of this book, and understand it, then I would very much like to replace part of my brain with yours.
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Author 28 books13.5k followers
Currently reading
March 12, 2010
Dave, who knows about these things, recommended it... I have just ordered a copy.
Profile Image for Wooi Hen Yap.
10 reviews27 followers
July 31, 2011
For beginners who need to understand Bayesian perspective on Machine Learning, I'd would say that's the best so far. The author has make good attempt to explain complicated theories in simplified manner by giving examples/applications. The best part of the book are chapters on graphical models (chapter 8), mixture model EM (chap 9) and approximate inference (chap 10). The reason I didn't give 5 stars because it is too narrow a perspective on Machine Learning (only from Bayesian Perspective) that I feel did not terms well with the book title. Statistical learning and non-Bayesian perspective on machine learning are not covered much here. To make up for this discrepancies Tom Mitchell's Machine Learning does better job. Nevertheless, it still a great book to put on the shelve for machine learning.
Profile Image for Gavin.
1,069 reviews312 followers
March 8, 2021
Timeless, towering. My yardstick: The first time I read it (looked at it) I was way out of my depth and understood little. Year by year I misunderstand less of it.
Profile Image for Oldrich.
4 reviews1 follower
September 3, 2012
1. The book is mainly about Bayesian approach. And many important techniques are missing. This is the biggest problem I think.
2. “Inconsistent difficulty”, too much time spent on simple things and very short time spent on complicated stuff.
3. Lack of techniques demonstration on real world problems.
19 reviews2 followers
October 4, 2013
I must say this is a pretty painful read. Some parts seem to go very deep without much purpose, some topics which are pretty wide and important are skipped over in a paragraph. Maybe this book needs to go together with a taught course on the topic. On itself it is just too much.
4 reviews
March 27, 2020
A concepts-oriented textbook about Machine Learning, relatively detailed considering the breadth of topics it covers, and suitable for text-study.

I would not recommend this book as the first to be introduced to Machine Learning, because it tends to go down rabbit holes of technical calculations, which makes things very concrete, but makes it difficult for the reader to keep track of what problem we're solving and to take a step back. I've found MacKay's Information Theory, Inference and Learning Algorithms to be more insightful, and (surprisingly) Manning's Introduction to Information Retrieval to do a better job at motivating and illustrating ML problems and approaches from the ground up.

To me, PRML really shines as a resource to go deeper after an introdution, with a technical exposition that is both detailed and general-purpose, and a wealth of exercises for self-study (highly appreciated!). It's especially relevant if you're interested in Bayesian approaches. It fits as a good stepping stone, right after conceptual introductions, and before more specialized material such as Deep Learning or Gaussian Processes for Machine Learning.

One could probably position PRML as the Bayesian counterpart to The Elements of Statistical Learning: Data Mining, Inference, and Prediction.

Some specifics:

1. This is NOT a practical resource on ML, in particular it will not teach or demonstrate any software tool.

2. Contains many exercises, a good deal of them have available corrections, so it's suitable for self-study.

3. Does introduce Neural Networks, but won't go beyond the basic architectures. Does also introduce "classical" ML techniques such as linear models, SVMs, Gaussian Processes, etc.

4. The use of Graphical Models as a modeling tool for a broad range of situations is particularly insightful.

5. It's quite a long read - don't feel like you have to read all of it, it can fruitfally be used as reference material. The introduction chapter on its own is extremely insightful - to read and re-read.
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317 reviews227 followers
September 2, 2013
recommended reading on machine learning from Gatsby (the neuroscience group in London, not the fictional Roaring 20s tail-chaser)
Profile Image for David.
10 reviews4 followers
August 14, 2007
Being a new text, topics in modern machine learning research are covered. Bishop prefers intuitive explanations with lots of figures over mathematical rigor (Which is fine by me! =). A sample chapter is available at Bishop's website.
Profile Image for Fernando Flores.
4 reviews3 followers
March 31, 2019
One of my first book on machine learning, this book can be painful if you don't have a solid background in algebra.
Profile Image for Emil Petersen.
433 reviews20 followers
August 12, 2020
I started reading this book about 2 years too late, in my last year of my computer science degree. I have only now finished it, and I had to skim some of the last chapters. It's a pretty monumental task to read it through, and I cannot help but wonder how much it have taken to write it. Bishop has extraordinary insight into the Bayesian treatment in pattern recognition, and this is expressed here in, sometimes excruciating, details. If you're a beginner, I would just read the first 4 or so chapters, maybe chapter 8 and skim some of the variational inference sections. For more advanced learners, the later chapters provide some excellent detail on how to go beyond the basics.

I'm a little sad that this book was not a part of my official coursework, as I have only later discovered how relevant much of the content was for a significant part of my courses, and even worse, my thesis (where variational autoencoders and, hidden markov models and Bayesian ensemble models were at the center, all of which are either described directly in this book, or given foundation). The variational autoencoder would fit right in (which rose to prominence after the book was written).

Chapter 5 on neural networks is good, but it feels disconnected from the rest of the book. Still, it's a good chapter in itself, and even though a lot is happening and has happened since the chapter was written, the foundations described here remain the same. People might use ReLU as activation now, and there are a few new tricks, but the foundations remain the same, such as perceptrons, backpropagation and activation functions.

Bishop is not the most pedagogical author, especially if you read more than the first few chapters, so if you need someone to hold your hand while reading, this is probably not the best place to start. In any case, the book seems great as a reference and if you like this kind of stuff, you should definitely read it at some point.
11 reviews
November 25, 2017
This book attempts to be self-contained, e.g: starting from probability and the Bayes' theorem as the foundation. But it is by no means an introductory book. If you have not developed an intuition for statistics and probability, you will find this book a very painful read.
This being said, I think you might want to use other books in combination with this book as reference to make the process a little bit easier.
In addition, some people have put together code (look for PRMLT on GitHub) in Matlab, that help illustrating the concepts in terms of code that you can experiment with, and seeing some of the concepts of this book at work.
Profile Image for Trung Nguyen.
11 reviews6 followers
July 11, 2015
I consider PRML one of the classic machine learning text books despite its moderate age (only 10 years). The book presents the probabilistic approach to modelling, in particular Bayesian machine learning. The material seems quite intimidating for readers that come from a not-so-strong mathematical background. But once you get over the initial inertia and practice deriving the equations on your own, you'll get a deep understanding of the content.
Profile Image for Nick.
8 reviews7 followers
January 25, 2018
Very decent mathematical overview of Data Science/ML with an emphasis on variational methods. It is particularly good intro to Bayesian stats/philosophy with nice pictures which is a good for those who don't know stats that well but are scientists at heart.

I enjoyed it but I also recommended it many times over to friends who knew far less stats than me and they often were extremely compelled by it (good for teaching).

It is an intro book, just to note.
298 reviews41 followers
March 30, 2020
Slightly dense textbook (in terms of algebra, theory and also to read) and not very well structured in terms of concepts, best to be read alongside a taught course imo. Also narrow, only focuses on Bayesian approaches. However, very comprehensive on Bayesian ML and has some great, clear diagrams that really help learning.
12 reviews8 followers
February 3, 2013
Apply Bayesian reasoning to anything. Not for beginners but after reading 10 times it gets clearer ;). This was the book in my machine learning course and it was hard to process, but worth it.
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16 reviews2 followers
January 26, 2017
I'm not read whole of book but i believe this is book is one of best reference for machine learning.
One of weak points is Deep learning not presented.
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39 reviews10 followers
May 20, 2019
Read it if you want to really understand statistical learning. A fundamental book about fundamental things.

It is not the easy one but it will pay off.
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28 reviews6 followers
November 1, 2021
I read this textbook in parallel to my Machine Learning lectures, and it was what I needed to get a deeper understanding of the underlying mathematical and probabilistic concepts, the methodologies and the techniques currently used in Pattern Recognition.

The book covers the foundations of Machine Learning, as well as more advanced Pattern Recognition techniques. The writing is comprehensible and not extremely dry, the book structure makes sense and the topics follow a natural order. I can't say I understood everything, and I wasn't expecting to - learning isn't linear and that's okay.

Each chapter of the book builds up your understanding of the techniques, starting with the basics and progressing towards more advanced topics, in a way that is (relatively) easy to follow.

Such topics include Bayesian, linear, and nonlinear classifiers, clustering, feature selection and generation, classifier evaluation, as well as more specific methods, and doesn't fail to outline their applications.

The math, while pretty advanced, is very well explained, and with enough focus, you can follow it step by step while it leads you to the formulas that underlie the algorithms and methods used in practice.
Profile Image for Avishek Nag.
Author 2 books1 follower
July 27, 2021
I observed that people often do mistake by reading this book at first hand in Machine Learning. There's the confusion. This is not at all a beginners' book. You really need some yrs of exp in ML to fully comprehend the breadth & depth of the book. I agree that the language used may sound little complex, but you should not give up there.

And one thing, this book is not for people looking for hands on exp. No. This one is for somebody who is really interested in the core meaty math stuff and "have some experience in ML". And you definitely need a pen & paper for reading it. This is not for people looking for a crash course. This book will definitely help you building a solid in & out understanding of the core math part of ML.
7 reviews
November 9, 2021
Incredibly good! Artificial intelligence is pattern recognition.

From the book's Amazon page:

This is the first textbook on pattern recognition to present the Bayesian viewpoint. The book presents approximate inference algorithms that permit fast approximate answers in situations where exact answers are not feasible. It uses graphical models to describe probability distributions when no other books apply graphical models to machine learning. No previous knowledge of pattern recognition or machine learning concepts is assumed. Familiarity with multivariate calculus and basic linear algebra is required, and some experience in the use of probabilities would be helpful though not essential as the book includes a self-contained introduction to basic probability theory.
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2 reviews
January 29, 2022
Nice book about machine learning and pattern recognition concepts, machine learning is future of technologies ,

good to read about machine learning ..

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Profile Image for John.
Author 3 books5 followers
May 20, 2020
First off, it needs to be noted that there are things about this book that are old and should be ignored. Deep learning, and anything involving that, has went way beyond this. The neural network discussion is very old.

Some of the approaches it discusses are also largely out of favor, as they've been supplanted by other technologies. But things sometimes come around again.

Beyond that, though, there's a lot of good fundamentals that haven't changed so much.

As other reviewers note, it is a heavily Bayesian approach, which is something I like.

I read it a long time ago, was good then, still reads well.
Profile Image for Jerzy Baranowski.
151 reviews2 followers
July 4, 2021
This is a kind of a cheat as a science book snuck into my summer reading pile. However I’m reading it to broaden my horizons, not for an exam of sorts, so I think it counts. This is not a book that person can learn how to do machine learning from scratch. However, especially if you are not afraid of mathematics you can understand how does it work. Bishop frames most of machine learning models in in a probabilistic, Bayesian framework. For me it is attractive, however computational methods are a bit dated, as a lot has happened since 2006. Strong recommendation from me.
Profile Image for Dhanya Jothimani.
272 reviews35 followers
March 30, 2019
Actual Rating: 4.5

Recommended for understanding the Bayesian perspective of Machine Learning algorithms but it doesn't give a comparative analysis with Frequentist approach. Good for learning the (theoretical or ) mathematical aspects of algorithms and their graphical representation. Focus on real world applications missing.
P.S.: Used for teaching Bayesian Statistics and Machine Learning course for graduate students
333 reviews19 followers
April 19, 2019
Strong emphasis on the Bayesian viewpoint and heavy on equations. The coloured panels with the short bio of famous statisticians and other important scientific figures were a welcomed addition to make the whole thing more digest. So overall a difficult read, certainly not the easiest to learn all the basics but an excellent manual for the researcher looking for something specific, especially if Bayesian related.
Profile Image for Frederik.
11 reviews
June 22, 2022
Bishop always makes me feel like an idiot, even when reading about concepts I'm already very familiar with. Very, very dense, with lots of mathematical muscle-flexing that requires you to stare at a page for 30 minutes until you get that "a-ha" moment. Maybe it's because I don't have a stats background, but I just don't enjoy this book.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 71 reviews

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