Assistant Professor, Department of StatisticsFlorida State University
Bayesian Nonparametric Modeling and Theory for Complex Data
The dissertation focuses on solving some important theoretical and methodological problems associated with Bayesian modeling of infinite dimensional 'objects', popularly called nonparametric Bayes. The term 'infinite dimensional object' can refer to a density, a conditional density, a regression surface or even a manifold. Although Bayesian density estimation as well as function estimation are well-justified in the existing literature, there has been little or no theory justifying the estimation of more complex objects (e.g. conditional density, manifold, etc.). Part of this dissertation focuses on exploring the structure of the spaces on which the priors for conditional densities and manifolds are supported while studying how the posterior concentrates as increasing amounts of data are collected. With the advent of new acquisition devices, there has been a need to model complex objects associated with complex data-types e.g. millions of genes affecting a bio-marker, 2D pixelated images, a cloud of points in the 3D space, etc. A significant portion of this dissertation has been devoted to developing adaptive nonparametric Bayes approaches for learning low-dimensional structures underlying higher-dimensional objects e.g. a high-dimensional regression function supported on a lower dimensional space, closed curves representing the boundaries of shapes in 2D images and closed surfaces located on or near the point cloud data. Characterizing the distribution of these objects has a tremendous impact in several application areas ranging from tumor tracking for targeted radiation therapy, to classifying cells in the brain, to model based methods for 3D animation and so on. The first three chapters are devoted to Bayesian nonparametric theory and modeling in unconstrained Euclidean spaces e.g. mean regression and density regression, the next two focus on Bayesian modeling of manifolds e.g. closed curves and surfaces, and the final one on nonparametric Bayes spatial point pattern data modeling when the sampling locations are informative of the outcomes.