Bayesian Non-Homogeneous Markov Models via Polya-Gamma Data Augmentation with Applications to Rainfall Modeling Machine Learning

Discrete-time hidden Markov models are a broadly useful class of latent-variable models with applications in areas such as speech recognition, bioinformatics, and climate data analysis. It is common in practice to introduce temporal non-homogeneity into such models by making the transition probabilities dependent on time-varying exogenous input variables via a multinomial logistic parametrization. We extend such models to introduce additional non-homogeneity into the emission distribution using a generalized linear model (GLM), with data augmentation for sampling-based inference. However, the presence of the logistic function in the state transition model significantly complicates parameter inference for the overall model, particularly in a Bayesian context. To address this we extend the recently-proposed Polya-Gamma data augmentation approach to handle non-homogeneous hidden Markov models (NHMMs), allowing the development of an efficient Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) sampling scheme. We apply our model and inference scheme to 30 years of daily rainfall in India, leading to a number of insights into rainfall-related phenomena in the region. Our proposed approach allows for fully Bayesian analysis of relatively complex NHMMs on a scale that was not possible with previous methods. Software implementing the methods described in the paper is available via the R package NHMM.

A Practical Algorithm for Topic Modeling with Provable Guarantees Machine Learning

Topic models provide a useful method for dimensionality reduction and exploratory data analysis in large text corpora. Most approaches to topic model inference have been based on a maximum likelihood objective. Efficient algorithms exist that approximate this objective, but they have no provable guarantees. Recently, algorithms have been introduced that provide provable bounds, but these algorithms are not practical because they are inefficient and not robust to violations of model assumptions. In this paper we present an algorithm for topic model inference that is both provable and practical. The algorithm produces results comparable to the best MCMC implementations while running orders of magnitude faster.

Towards Diagnosing Hybrid Systems

AAAI Conferences

This paper reports on the findings of an ongoing project to investigate techniques to diagnose complex dynamical systems that are modeled as hybrid systems. In particular, we examine continuous systems with embedded supervisory controllers which experience abrupt, partial or full failure of component devices. The problem we address is: given a hybrid model of system behavior, a history of executed controller actions, and a history of observations, including an observation of behavior that is aberrant relative to the model of expected behavior, determine what fault occurred to have caused the aberrant behavior. Determining a diagnosis can be cast as a search problem to find the most likely model for the data. Unfortunately, the search space is extremely large. To reduce search space size and to identify an initial set of candidate diagnoses, we propose to exploit techniques originally applied to qualitative diagnosis of continuous systems. We refine these diagnoses using parameter estimation and model fitting techniques. As a motivating case study, we have examined the problem of diagnosing NASA's Sprint AERCam, a small spherical robotic camera unit with 12 thrusters that enable both linear and rotational motion.

Propagation of Delays in the National Airspace System Artificial Intelligence

The National Airspace System (NAS) is a large and complex system with thousands of interrelated components: administration, control centers, airports, airlines, aircraft, passengers, etc. The complexity of the NAS creates many difficulties in management and control. One of the most pressing problems is flight delay. Delay creates high cost to airlines, complaints from passengers, and difficulties for airport operations. As demand on the system increases, the delay problem becomes more and more prominent. For this reason, it is essential for the Federal Aviation Administration to understand the causes of delay and to find ways to reduce delay. Major contributing factors to delay are congestion at the origin airport, weather, increasing demand, and air traffic management (ATM) decisions such as the Ground Delay Programs (GDP). Delay is an inherently stochastic phenomenon. Even if all known causal factors could be accounted for, macro-level national airspace system (NAS) delays could not be predicted with certainty from micro-level aircraft information. This paper presents a stochastic model that uses Bayesian Networks (BNs) to model the relationships among different components of aircraft delay and the causal factors that affect delays. A case study on delays of departure flights from Chicago O'Hare international airport (ORD) to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) reveals how local and system level environmental and human-caused factors combine to affect components of delay, and how these components contribute to the final arrival delay at the destination airport.

Multivariate Anomaly Detection in Medicare using Model Residuals and Probabilistic Programming

AAAI Conferences

Anomalies in healthcare claims data can be indicative of possible fraudulent activities, contributing to a significant portion of overall healthcare costs. Medicare is a large government run healthcare program that serves the needs of the elderly in the United States. The increasing elderly population and their reliance on the Medicare program create an environment with rising costs and increased risk of fraud. The detection of these potentially fraudulent activities can recover costs and lessen the overall impact of fraud on the Medicare program. In this paper, we propose a new method to detect fraud by discovering outliers, or anomalies, in payments made to Medicare providers. We employ a multivariate outlier detection method split into two parts. In the first part, we create a multivariate regression model and generate corresponding residuals. In the second part, these residuals are used as inputs into a generalizable univariate probability model. We create this Bayesian probability model using probabilistic programming. Our results indicate our model is robust and less dependent on underlying data distributions, versus Mahalanobis distance. Moreover, we are able to demonstrate successful anomaly detection, within Medicare specialties, providing meaningful results for further investigation.