Health & Medicine


Flexible statistical inference for mechanistic models of neural dynamics

Neural Information Processing Systems

Mechanistic models of single-neuron dynamics have been extensively studied in computational neuroscience. However, identifying which models can quantitatively reproduce empirically measured data has been challenging. We propose to overcome this limitation by using likelihood-free inference approaches (also known as Approximate Bayesian Computation, ABC) to perform full Bayesian inference on single-neuron models. Our approach builds on recent advances in ABC by learning a neural network which maps features of the observed data to the posterior distribution over parameters. We learn a Bayesian mixture-density network approximating the posterior over multiple rounds of adaptively chosen simulations.


Enforcing balance allows local supervised learning in spiking recurrent networks

Neural Information Processing Systems

To predict sensory inputs or control motor trajectories, the brain must constantly learn temporal dynamics based on error feedback. However, it remains unclear how such supervised learning is implemented in biological neural networks. Learning in recurrent spiking networks is notoriously difficult because local changes in connectivity may have an unpredictable effect on the global dynamics. The most commonly used learning rules, such as temporal back-propagation, are not local and thus not biologically plausible. Furthermore, reproducing the Poisson-like statistics of neural responses requires the use of networks with balanced excitation and inhibition.


Learning spatiotemporal piecewise-geodesic trajectories from longitudinal manifold-valued data

Neural Information Processing Systems

We introduce a hierarchical model which allows to estimate a group-average piecewise-geodesic trajectory in the Riemannian space of measurements and individual variability. This model falls into the well defined mixed-effect models. The subject-specific trajectories are defined through spatial and temporal transformations of the group-average piecewise-geodesic path, component by component. Thus we can apply our model to a wide variety of situations. Due to the non-linearity of the model, we use the Stochastic Approximation Expectation-Maximization algorithm to estimate the model parameters.


Learning the Morphology of Brain Signals Using Alpha-Stable Convolutional Sparse Coding

Neural Information Processing Systems

Neural time-series data contain a wide variety of prototypical signal waveforms (atoms) that are of significant importance in clinical and cognitive research. One of the goals for analyzing such data is hence to extract such shift-invariant' atoms. Even though some success has been reported with existing algorithms, they are limited in applicability due to their heuristic nature. Moreover, they are often vulnerable to artifacts and impulsive noise, which are typically present in raw neural recordings. In this study, we address these issues and propose a novel probabilistic convolutional sparse coding (CSC) model for learning shift-invariant atoms from raw neural signals containing potentially severe artifacts.


Union of Intersections (UoI) for Interpretable Data Driven Discovery and Prediction

Neural Information Processing Systems

The increasing size and complexity of scientific data could dramatically enhance discovery and prediction for basic scientific applications, e.g., neuroscience, genetics, systems biology, etc. Realizing this potential, however, requires novel statistical analysis methods that are both interpretable and predictive. We introduce the Union of Intersections (UoI) method, a flexible, modular, and scalable framework for enhanced model selection and estimation. The method performs model selection and model estimation through intersection and union operations, respectively. We show that UoI can satisfy the bi-criteria of low-variance and nearly unbiased estimation of a small number of interpretable features, while maintaining high-quality prediction accuracy. In doing so, we demonstrate the extraction of interpretable functional networks from human electrophysiology recordings as well as the accurate prediction of phenotypes from genotype-phenotype data with reduced features.


Uncertainty-Aware Attention for Reliable Interpretation and Prediction

Neural Information Processing Systems

Attention mechanism is effective in both focusing the deep learning models on relevant features and interpreting them. However, attentions may be unreliable since the networks that generate them are often trained in a weakly-supervised manner. To overcome this limitation, we introduce the notion of input-dependent uncertainty to the attention mechanism, such that it generates attention for each feature with varying degrees of noise based on the given input, to learn larger variance on instances it is uncertain about. We learn this Uncertainty-aware Attention (UA) mechanism using variational inference, and validate it on various risk prediction tasks from electronic health records on which our model significantly outperforms existing attention models. The analysis of the learned attentions shows that our model generates attentions that comply with clinicians' interpretation, and provide richer interpretation via learned variance.


Self-Normalizing Neural Networks

Neural Information Processing Systems

Deep Learning has revolutionized vision via convolutional neural networks (CNNs) and natural language processing via recurrent neural networks (RNNs). However, success stories of Deep Learning with standard feed-forward neural networks (FNNs) are rare. FNNs that perform well are typically shallow and, therefore cannot exploit many levels of abstract representations. We introduce self-normalizing neural networks (SNNs) to enable high-level abstract representations. While batch normalization requires explicit normalization, neuron activations of SNNs automatically converge towards zero mean and unit variance.


GP CaKe: Effective brain connectivity with causal kernels

Neural Information Processing Systems

A fundamental goal in network neuroscience is to understand how activity in one brain region drives activity elsewhere, a process referred to as effective connectivity. Here we propose to model this causal interaction using integro-differential equations and causal kernels that allow for a rich analysis of effective connectivity. The approach combines the tractability and flexibility of autoregressive modeling with the biophysical interpretability of dynamic causal modeling. The causal kernels are learned nonparametrically using Gaussian process regression, yielding an efficient framework for causal inference. We construct a novel class of causal covariance functions that enforce the desired properties of the causal kernels, an approach which we call GP CaKe.


A Framework for Individualizing Predictions of Disease Trajectories by Exploiting Multi-Resolution Structure

Neural Information Processing Systems

For many complex diseases, there is a wide variety of ways in which an individual can manifest the disease. The challenge of personalized medicine is to develop tools that can accurately predict the trajectory of an individual's disease, which can in turn enable clinicians to optimize treatments. We represent an individual's disease trajectory as a continuous-valued continuous-time function describing the severity of the disease over time. We propose a hierarchical latent variable model that individualizes predictions of disease trajectories. We describe an algorithm for learning population and subpopulation parameters offline, and an online procedure for dynamically learning individual-specific parameters.


Detrended Partial Cross Correlation for Brain Connectivity Analysis

Neural Information Processing Systems

Brain connectivity analysis is a critical component of ongoing human connectome projects to decipher the healthy and diseased brain. Recent work has highlighted the power-law (multi-time scale) properties of brain signals; however, there remains a lack of methods to specifically quantify short- vs. long- time range brain connections. In this paper, using detrended partial cross-correlation analysis (DPCCA), we propose a novel functional connectivity measure to delineate brain interactions at multiple time scales, while controlling for covariates. We use a rich simulated fMRI dataset to validate the proposed method, and apply it to a real fMRI dataset in a cocaine dependence prediction task. We show that, compared to extant methods, the DPCCA-based approach not only distinguishes short and long memory functional connectivity but also improves feature extraction and enhances classification accuracy.