Recently, batch-mode active learning has attracted a lot of attention. In this paper, we propose a novel batch-mode active learning approach that selects a batch of queries in each iteration by maximizing a natural form of mutual information criterion between the labeled and unlabeled instances. By employing a Gaussian process framework, this mutual information based instance selection problem can be formulated as a matrix partition problem. Although the matrix partition is an NP-hard combinatorial optimization problem, we show a good local solution can be obtained by exploiting an effective local optimization technique on the relaxed continuous optimization problem. The proposed active learning approach is independent of employed classification models. Our empirical studies show this approach can achieve comparable or superior performance to discriminative batch-mode active learning methods.