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Title: Latent Gaussian model boosting Authors:  Fabio Sigrist - Lucerne University of Applied Sciences (Switzerland) [presenting]
Abstract: Latent Gaussian models and boosting are widely used techniques in statistics and machine learning. Latent Gaussian models, such as Gaussian process and grouped random-effects models, are flexible prior models that allow for making probabilistic predictions. However, existing latent Gaussian models usually assume either a zero or a linear prior mean function which can be an unrealistic assumption. Tree-boosting shows excellent predictive accuracy on many data sets, but potential drawbacks are that it assumes conditional independence of samples, produces discontinuous predictions for, e.g., spatial data, and it can have difficulty with high-cardinality categorical variables. We introduce a novel approach that combines boosting and latent Gaussian models in order to remedy the above-mentioned drawbacks and leverage the advantages of both techniques. We obtain increased predictive accuracy compared to existing approaches in both simulated and real-world data experiments.