*Statistical learning of random probability measures*, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Data science and computation, 34 Ciclo. DOI 10.48676/unibo/amsdottorato/10607.

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## Abstract

The study of random probability measures is a lively research topic that has attracted interest from different fields in recent years. In this thesis, we consider random probability measures in the context of Bayesian nonparametrics, where the law of a random probability measure is used as prior distribution, and in the context of distributional data analysis, where the goal is to perform inference given avsample from the law of a random probability measure. The contributions contained in this thesis can be subdivided according to three different topics: (i) the use of almost surely discrete repulsive random measures (i.e., whose support points are well separated) for Bayesian model-based clustering, (ii) the proposal of new laws for collections of random probability measures for Bayesian density estimation of partially exchangeable data subdivided into different groups, and (iii) the study of principal component analysis and regression models for probability distributions seen as elements of the 2-Wasserstein space. Specifically, for point (i) above we propose an efficient Markov chain Monte Carlo algorithm for posterior inference, which sidesteps the need of split-merge reversible jump moves typically associated with poor performance, we propose a model for clustering high-dimensional data by introducing a novel class of anisotropic determinantal point processes, and study the distributional properties of the repulsive measures, shedding light on important theoretical results which enable more principled prior elicitation and more efficient posterior simulation algorithms. For point (ii) above, we consider several models suitable for clustering homogeneous populations, inducing spatial dependence across groups of data, extracting the characteristic traits common to all the data-groups, and propose a novel vector autoregressive model to study of growth curves of Singaporean kids. Finally, for point (iii), we propose a novel class of projected statistical methods for distributional data analysis for measures on the real line and on the unit-circle.