Highly Structured Stochastic Systems (HSSS) is a modern strategy for building statistical models for challenging real-world problems, for computing with them, and for interpreting the resulting inferences. Complexity is handled by working up from simple local assumptions in a coherent way, andthat is the key to modelling, computation, inference and interpretation; the unifying framework is that of Bayesian hierarchical models. The aim of this book is to make recent developments in HSSS accessible to a general statistical audience. Graphical modelling and Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) methodology are central to the field, and in this text they are covered in depth. The chapters on graphical modelling focus on causality and its interplay with time, the role of latent variables, and on some innovative applications. Those onMonte Carlo algorithms include discussion of the impact of recent theoretical work on the evaluation of performance in MCMC, extensions to variable dimension problems, and methods for dynamic problems based on particle filters. Coverage of these underlying methodologies is balanced by substantiveareas of application - in the areas of spatial statistics (with epidemiological, ecological and image analysis applications) and biology (including infectious diseases, gene mapping and evolutionary genetics). The book concludes with two topics (model criticism and Bayesian nonparametrics) that seekto challenge the parametric assumptions that otherwise underlie most HSSS models. Altogether there are 15 topics in the book, and for each there is a substantial article by a leading author in the field, and two invited commentaries that complement, extend or discuss the main article, and should be read in parallel. All authors are distinguished researchers in the field, and wereactive participants in an international research programme on HSSS.This is the 27th volume in the Oxford Statistical Science Series, which includes texts and monographs covering many topics of current research interest in pure and applied statistics. These texts focus on topics that have been at the forefront of research interest for several years. Other books inthe series include: J.Durbin and S.J.Koopman: Time series analysis by State Space Models; Peter J. Diggle, Patrick Heagerty, Kung-Yee Liang, Scott L. Zeger: Analysis of Longitudinal Data 2/e; J.K. Lindsey: Nonlinear Models in Medical Statistics; Peter J. Green, Nils L. Hjort and Sylvia Richardson:Highly Structured Stochastic Systems; Margaret S. Pepe: Statistical Evaluation of Medical Tests.