This book is the first comprehensive introduction to Support Vector Machines (SVMs), a new generation learning system based on recent advances in statistical learning theory. The book also introduces Bayesian analysis of learning and relates SVMs to Gaussian Processes and other kernel based learning methods. SVMs deliver state-of-the-art performance in real-world applications such as text categorisation, hand-written character recognition, image classification, biosequences analysis, etc. Their first introduction in the early 1990s lead to a recent explosion of applications and deepening theoretical analysis, that has now established Support Vector Machines along with neural networks as one of the standard tools for machine learning and data mining. Students will find the book both stimulating and accessible, while practitioners will be guided smoothly through the material required for a good grasp of the theory and application of these techniques. The concepts are introduced gradually in accessible and self-contained stages, though in each stage the presentation is rigorous and thorough. Pointers to relevant literature and web sites containing software ensure that it forms an ideal starting point for further study. Equally the book will equip the practitioner to apply the techniques and an associated web site will provide pointers to updated literature, new applications, and on-line software.
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