Laboratory of Computer and Information Science / Adaptive Informatics Research Centre CIS Lab Helsinki University of Technology

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T-61.6900 Individual studies:
Reading circle on Bayesian theory V P, 7 cr

Notices (updated 30.11.2006)
o 30.11. Added the exercise of last meeting on 28.11.
o Return the final exercise to the course assistant by 12.12.
o Thanks to all those who attended the course!

Lecturer Professor Samuel Kaski, Laboratory of Computer and Information Science
Assistant M.Sc.(Tech.) Jarkko Salojärvi, Laboratory of Computer and Information Science
Credits (ECTS) 7
Semester Autumn 2006, periods I and II
Seminar sessions On Tuesdays at 12-14 in lecture room A328 in computer science building,
Konemiehentie 2, Otaniemi, Espoo. The first session on Thursday 14.9.2005.
Language English
Registration Send mail to

Description [back to top]

The goal is to read and understand the book Bayesian Theory (Bernardo & Smith, Wiley 2000). The book starts by viewing Bayesian inference as a special case of decision theory, and then proceeds by giving a comprehensive discussion on modelling and inference. The focus will be more on the latter parts, but we will go through the beginning too, most likely skipping the proofs there.

We will all read a chapter at a time, and discuss it during the next session. One of the participants, each in turn, introduces the chapter, leads the discussion, and coordinates exercises with the help of the course staff.

Prerequisites [back to top]

Basic math courses of TKK or equivalent, and reasonable knowledge of a subset of statistics, probabilistic modeling, machine learning, pattern recognition or information theory. The more theoretical T-61 courses give a very suitable background, for instance.

Course format [back to top]

Reading cycle (introduction of a chapter and leading the discussion + active participation + summaries + exercises) (7 cr).

Requirements for passing the course [back to top]

A combination of exercises, summaries and active participation produces 7cu in the form of T-61.6900 Yksilölliset opinnot. The course is graded as fail/pass/pass with distinction. The grade depends on the number of exercises solved, and active participation in the discussion.

Signing up for the course [back to top]

Send a short description by email to the course assistant (, describing your reason for joining the reading circle, plus your potential contribution to the circle. Because of the format, we cannot take more than 15 students, but otherwise there is no need to be formal. More advanced researchers are welcome as well. Deadline: 12.9.

Literature/Course material [back to top]

Bernardo & Smith: Bayesian Theory, Wiley 2000.

The format of a meeting [back to top]

We will first go through the exercises given in the previous meeting. Those who want credits need to return their solutions to the assistant before the meeting. In principle everyone can present the solutions, but at least the one that gave the exercises should have the model solution.

We will then have a presentation, interleaved with discussion. In the end the presenter will give 1-3 exercises (for those wishing to get credits) on the subject. This will take 2 hours in total.

Note: The course is a very informal reading circle. The actual format is much up to the participants, except if you want to get credits. Each presenter can choose their own presentation style, most important is to understand and discuss. We expect everybody to read the book, there is no use just to listen. The focus is not on the proofs (but you can do that too), but instead on understanding why, and what are the implications.

Discussion related to practical applications and implications to our own research is favoured, and even philosophical discussion is quite ok (let's restrict the time spent on that, though). Naive questions are strongly solicited, especially if you did try to understand the issue!

Schedule [back to top]

Our plan is to read chapters 2-3 relatively quickly, and then read the rest. Finally, we will get back to the beginning.

Time Lecturer Subject and material
14.9. Samuel Kaski
  • Administrative issues
  • Introduction
19.9 Arto Klami
26.9 Antti Sorjamaa
  • Chapters 2.5 - 2.8 (slides and exercises pdf, ppt)
3.10 Nima Reyhani
10.10 Jarno Vanhatalo
17.10 Markus Harva
24.10 Jaakko Riihimäki
31.10 Antti Ajanki
7.11 Leo Lahti
14.11 Jarkko Salojärvi
21.11 Antti Honkela
28.11 Sami Kaski

For more information, please send email to

Samuel Kaski and Jarkko Salojärvi

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