Collaborating Authors


Ivy: Instrumental Variable Synthesis for Causal Inference Machine Learning

A popular way to estimate the causal effect of a variable x on y from observational data is to use an instrumental variable (IV): a third variable z that affects y only through x. The more strongly z is associated with x, the more reliable the estimate is, but such strong IVs are difficult to find. Instead, practitioners combine more commonly available IV candidates---which are not necessarily strong, or even valid, IVs---into a single "summary" that is plugged into causal effect estimators in place of an IV. In genetic epidemiology, such approaches are known as allele scores. Allele scores require strong assumptions---independence and validity of all IV candidates---for the resulting estimate to be reliable. To relax these assumptions, we propose Ivy, a new method to combine IV candidates that can handle correlated and invalid IV candidates in a robust manner. Theoretically, we characterize this robustness, its limits, and its impact on the resulting causal estimates. Empirically, Ivy can correctly identify the directionality of known relationships and is robust against false discovery (median effect size <= 0.025) on three real-world datasets with no causal effects, while allele scores return more biased estimates (median effect size >= 0.118).

Probabilistic Diagnostic Tests for Degradation Problems in Supervised Learning Artificial Intelligence

Several studies point out different causes of performance degradation in supervised machine learning. Problems such as class imbalance, overlapping, small-disjuncts, noisy labels, and sparseness limit accuracy in classification algorithms. Even though a number of approaches either in the form of a methodology or an algorithm try to minimize performance degradation, they have been isolated efforts with limited scope. Most of these approaches focus on remediation of one among many problems, with experimental results coming from few datasets and classification algorithms, insufficient measures of prediction power, and lack of statistical validation for testing the real benefit of the proposed approach. This paper consists of two main parts: In the first part, a novel probabilistic diagnostic model based on identifying signs and symptoms of each problem is presented. Thereby, early and correct diagnosis of these problems is to be achieved in order to select not only the most convenient remediation treatment but also unbiased performance metrics. Secondly, the behavior and performance of several supervised algorithms are studied when training sets have such problems. Therefore, prediction of success for treatments can be estimated across classifiers.

Stacked Generalizations in Imbalanced Fraud Data Sets using Resampling Methods Machine Learning

This study uses stacked generalization, which is a two-step process of combining machine learning methods, called meta or super learners, for improving the performance of algorithms in step one (by minimizing the error rate of each individual algorithm to reduce its bias in the learning set) and then in step two inputting the results into the meta learner with its stacked blended output (demonstrating improved performance with the weakest algorithms learning better). The method is essentially an enhanced cross-validation strategy. Although the process uses great computational resources, the resulting performance metrics on resampled fraud data show that increased system cost can be justified. A fundamental key to fraud data is that it is inherently not systematic and, as of yet, the optimal resampling methodology has not been identified. Building a test harness that accounts for all permutations of algorithm sample set pairs demonstrates that the complex, intrinsic data structures are all thoroughly tested. Using a comparative analysis on fraud data that applies stacked generalizations provides useful insight needed to find the optimal mathematical formula to be used for imbalanced fraud data sets.

Deep Bayesian Gaussian Processes for Uncertainty Estimation in Electronic Health Records Machine Learning

One major impediment to the wider use of deep learning for clinical decision making is the difficulty of assigning a level of confidence to model predictions. Currently, deep Bayesian neural networks and sparse Gaussian processes are the main two scalable uncertainty estimation methods. However, deep Bayesian neural network suffers from lack of expressiveness, and more expressive models such as deep kernel learning, which is an extension of sparse Gaussian process, captures only the uncertainty from the higher level latent space. Therefore, the deep learning model under it lacks interpretability and ignores uncertainty from the raw data. In this paper, we merge features of the deep Bayesian learning framework with deep kernel learning to leverage the strengths of both methods for more comprehensive uncertainty estimation. Through a series of experiments on predicting the first incidence of heart failure, diabetes and depression applied to large-scale electronic medical records, we demonstrate that our method is better at capturing uncertainty than both Gaussian processes and deep Bayesian neural networks in terms of indicating data insufficiency and distinguishing true positive and false positive predictions, with a comparable generalisation performance. Furthermore, by assessing the accuracy and area under the receiver operating characteristic curve over the predictive probability, we show that our method is less susceptible to making overconfident predictions, especially for the minority class in imbalanced datasets. Finally, we demonstrate how uncertainty information derived by the model can inform risk factor analysis towards model interpretability.

AutoCogniSys: IoT Assisted Context-Aware Automatic Cognitive Health Assessment Artificial Intelligence

Cognitive impairment has become epidemic in older adult population. The recent advent of tiny wearable and ambient devices, a.k.a Internet of Things (IoT) provides ample platforms for continuous functional and cognitive health assessment of older adults. In this paper, we design, implement and evaluate AutoCogniSys, a context-aware automated cognitive health assessment system, combining the sensing powers of wearable physiological (Electrodermal Activity, Photoplethysmography) and physical (Accelerometer, Object) sensors in conjunction with ambient sensors. We design appropriate signal processing and machine learning techniques, and develop an automatic cognitive health assessment system in a natural older adults living environment. We validate our approaches using two datasets: (i) a naturalistic sensor data streams related to Activities of Daily Living and mental arousal of 22 older adults recruited in a retirement community center, individually living in their own apartments using a customized inexpensive IoT system (IRB #HP-00064387) and (ii) a publicly available dataset for emotion detection. The performance of AutoCogniSys attests max. 93\% of accuracy in assessing cognitive health of older adults.

A review of machine learning applications in wildfire science and management Machine Learning

Artificial intelligence has been applied in wildfire science and management since the 1990s, with early applications including neural networks and expert systems. Since then the field has rapidly progressed congruently with the wide adoption of machine learning (ML) in the environmental sciences. Here, we present a scoping review of ML in wildfire science and management. Our objective is to improve awareness of ML among wildfire scientists and managers, as well as illustrate the challenging range of problems in wildfire science available to data scientists. We first present an overview of popular ML approaches used in wildfire science to date, and then review their use in wildfire science within six problem domains: 1) fuels characterization, fire detection, and mapping; 2) fire weather and climate change; 3) fire occurrence, susceptibility, and risk; 4) fire behavior prediction; 5) fire effects; and 6) fire management. We also discuss the advantages and limitations of various ML approaches and identify opportunities for future advances in wildfire science and management within a data science context. We identified 298 relevant publications, where the most frequently used ML methods included random forests, MaxEnt, artificial neural networks, decision trees, support vector machines, and genetic algorithms. There exists opportunities to apply more current ML methods (e.g., deep learning and agent based learning) in wildfire science. However, despite the ability of ML models to learn on their own, expertise in wildfire science is necessary to ensure realistic modelling of fire processes across multiple scales, while the complexity of some ML methods requires sophisticated knowledge for their application. Finally, we stress that the wildfire research and management community plays an active role in providing relevant, high quality data for use by practitioners of ML methods.

Fairness-Aware Learning with Prejudice Free Representations Machine Learning

Machine learning models are extensively being used to make decisions that have a significant impact on human life. These models are trained over historical data that may contain information about sensitive attributes such as race, sex, religion, etc. The presence of such sensitive attributes can impact certain population subgroups unfairly. It is straightforward to remove sensitive features from the data; however, a model could pick up prejudice from latent sensitive attributes that may exist in the training data. This has led to the growing apprehension about the fairness of the employed models. In this paper, we propose a novel algorithm that can effectively identify and treat latent discriminating features. The approach is agnostic of the learning algorithm and generalizes well for classification as well as regression tasks. It can also be used as a key aid in proving that the model is free of discrimination towards regulatory compliance if the need arises. The approach helps to collect discrimination-free features that would improve the model performance while ensuring the fairness of the model. The experimental results from our evaluations on publicly available real-world datasets show a near-ideal fairness measurement in comparison to other methods.

Missing Data Imputation for Classification Problems Machine Learning

Imputation of missing data is a common application in various classification problems where the feature training matrix has missingness. A widely used solution to this imputation problem is based on the lazy learning technique, $k$-nearest neighbor (kNN) approach. However, most of the previous work on missing data does not take into account the presence of the class label in the classification problem. Also, existing kNN imputation methods use variants of Minkowski distance as a measure of distance, which does not work well with heterogeneous data. In this paper, we propose a novel iterative kNN imputation technique based on class weighted grey distance between the missing datum and all the training data. Grey distance works well in heterogeneous data with missing instances. The distance is weighted by Mutual Information (MI) which is a measure of feature relevance between the features and the class label. This ensures that the imputation of the training data is directed towards improving classification performance. This class weighted grey kNN imputation algorithm demonstrates improved performance when compared to other kNN imputation algorithms, as well as standard imputation algorithms such as MICE and missForest, in imputation and classification problems. These problems are based on simulated scenarios and UCI datasets with various rates of missingness.

A survey of statistical learning techniques as applied to inexpensive pediatric Obstructive Sleep Apnea data Machine Learning

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a form of sleep-disordered breathing characterized by recurrent episodes of partial or complete airway obstruction during sleep, is a serious health problem, affecting an estimated 1-5% of elementary school-aged children [9, 2]. Even mild forms of untreated pediatric OSA may cause high blood pressure, behavioral challenges, or impeded growth. Compared to adults, the symptoms of childhood-onset OSA are more varied and change continuously with development, making diagnosis a difficult challenge. The complexity of the data from surveys, biomedical measurements, 3D facial photos, and time-series data calls for state of the art techniques from mathematics and data science. Clinical data, including that considered in confirming or ruling out a diagnosis of pediatric OSA, consist of high-dimensional multi-mode data with mixtures of variables of disparate types (e.g., nominal and categorical data of different scales, interval data, time-to-event and longitudinal outcomes) also called mixed or noncommensurate data.

Imbalanced classification: an objective-oriented review Machine Learning

A common issue for classification in scientific research and industry is the existence of imbalanced classes. When sample sizes of different classes are imbalanced in training data, naively implementing a classification method often leads to unsatisfactory prediction results on test data. Multiple resampling techniques have been proposed to address the class imbalance issues. Yet, there is no general guidance on when to use each technique. In this article, we provide an objective-oriented review of the common resampling techniques for binary classification under imbalanced class sizes. The learning objectives we consider include the classical paradigm that minimizes the overall classification error, the cost-sensitive learning paradigm that minimizes a cost-adjusted weighted type I and type II errors, and the Neyman-Pearson paradigm that minimizes the type II error subject to a type I error constraint. Under each paradigm, we investigate the combination of the resampling techniques and a few state-of-the-art classification methods. For each pair of resampling techniques and classification methods, we use simulation studies to study the performance under different evaluation metrics. From these extensive simulation experiments, we demonstrate under each classification paradigm, the complex dynamics among resampling techniques, base classification methods, evaluation metrics, and imbalance ratios. For practitioners, the take-away message is that with imbalanced data, one usually should consider all the combinations of resampling techniques and the base classification methods.