The process of diagnosis involves learning about the state of a system from various observations of symptoms or findings about the system. Sophisticated Bayesian (and other) algorithms have been developed to revise and maintain beliefs about the system as observations are made. Nonetheless, diagnostic models have tended to ignore some common sense reasoning exploited by human diagnosticians; In particular, one can learn from which observations have not been made, in the spirit of conversational implicature. There are two concepts that we describe to extract information from the observations not made. First, some symptoms, if present, are more likely to be reported before others. Second, most human diagnosticians and expert systems are economical in their data-gathering, searching first where they are more likely to find symptoms present. Thus, there is a desirable bias toward reporting symptoms that are present. We develop a simple model for these concepts that can significantly improve diagnostic inference.
Normative expert systems have not become commonplace because they have been difficult to build and use. Over the past decade, however, researchers have developed the influence diagram, a graphical representation of a decision maker's beliefs, alternatives, and preferences that serves as the knowledge base of a normative expert system. Most people who have seen the representation find it intuitive and easy to use. Consequently, the influence diagram has overcome significantly the barriers to constructing normative expert systems. Nevertheless, building influence diagrams is not practical for extremely large and complex domains. In this book, I address the difficulties associated with the construction of the probabilistic portion of an influence diagram, called a knowledge map, belief network, or Bayesian network. I introduce two representations that facilitate the generation of large knowledge maps. In particular, I introduce the similarity network, a tool for building the network structure of a knowledge map, and the partition, a tool for assessing the probabilities associated with a knowledge map. I then use these representations to build Pathfinder, a large normative expert system for the diagnosis of lymph-node diseases (the domain contains over 60 diseases and over 100 disease findings). In an early version of the system, I encoded the knowledge of the expert using an erroneous assumption that all disease findings were independent, given each disease. When the expert and I attempted to build a more accurate knowledge map for the domain that would capture the dependencies among the disease findings, we failed. Using a similarity network, however, we built the knowledge-map structure for the entire domain in approximately 40 hours. Furthermore, the partition representation reduced the number of probability assessments required by the expert from 75,000 to 14,000.
Most real-world networks are too large to be measured or studied directly and there is substantial interest in estimating global network properties from smaller sub-samples. One of the most important global properties is the number of vertices/nodes in the network. Estimating the number of vertices in a large network is a major challenge in computer science, epidemiology, demography, and intelligence analysis. In this paper we consider a population random graph G = (V;E) from the stochastic block model (SBM) with K communities/blocks. A sample is obtained by randomly choosing a subset W and letting G(W) be the induced subgraph in G of the vertices in W. In addition to G(W), we observe the total degree of each sampled vertex and its block membership. Given this partial information, we propose an efficient PopULation Size Estimation algorithm, called PULSE, that accurately estimates the size of the whole population as well as the size of each community. To support our theoretical analysis, we perform an exhaustive set of experiments to study the effects of sample size, K, and SBM model parameters on the accuracy of the estimates. The experimental results also demonstrate that PULSE significantly outperforms a widely-used method called the network scale-up estimator in a wide variety of scenarios.
Predicated on the increasing abundance of electronic health records, we investigate the problem of inferring individualized treatment effects using observational data. Stemming from the potential outcomes model, we propose a novel multi-task learning framework in which factual and counterfactual outcomes are modeled as the outputs of a function in a vector-valued reproducing kernel Hilbert space (vvRKHS). We develop a nonparametric Bayesian method for learning the treatment effects using a multi-task Gaussian process (GP) with a linear coregionalization kernel as a prior over the vvRKHS. The Bayesian approach allows us to compute individualized measures of confidence in our estimates via pointwise credible intervals, which are crucial for realizing the full potential of precision medicine. The impact of selection bias is alleviated via a risk-based empirical Bayes method for adapting the multi-task GP prior, which jointly minimizes the empirical error in factual outcomes and the uncertainty in (unobserved) counterfactual outcomes. We conduct experiments on observational datasets for an interventional social program applied to premature infants, and a left ventricular assist device applied to cardiac patients wait-listed for a heart transplant. In both experiments, we show that our method significantly outperforms the state-of-the-art.
It is the main purpose of this paper to introduce a graph-valued stochastic process in order to model the spread of a communicable infectious disease. The major novelty of the SIR model we promote lies in the fact that the social network on which the epidemics is taking place is not specified in advance but evolves through time, accounting for the temporal evolution of the interactions involving infective individuals. Without assuming the existence of a fixed underlying network model, the stochastic process introduced describes, in a flexible and realistic manner, epidemic spread in non-uniformly mixing and possibly heterogeneous populations. It is shown how to fit such a (parametrised) model by means of Approximate Bayesian Computation methods based on graph-valued statistics. The concepts and statistical methods described in this paper are finally applied to a real epidemic dataset, related to the spread of HIV in Cuba in presence of a contact tracing system, which permits one to reconstruct partly the evolution of the graph of sexual partners diagnosed HIV positive between 1986 and 2006.