Collaborating Authors

Xu, Ming

Triaging moderate COVID-19 and other viral pneumonias from routine blood tests Machine Learning

The COVID-19 is sweeping the world with deadly consequences. Its contagious nature and clinical similarity to other pneumonias make separating subjects contracted with COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 viral pneumonia a priority and a challenge. However, COVID-19 testing has been greatly limited by the availability and cost of existing methods, even in developed countries like the US. Intrigued by the wide availability of routine blood tests, we propose to leverage them for COVID-19 testing using the power of machine learning. Two proven-robust machine learning model families, random forests (RFs) and support vector machines (SVMs), are employed to tackle the challenge. Trained on blood data from 208 moderate COVID-19 subjects and 86 subjects with non-COVID-19 moderate viral pneumonia, the best result is obtained in an SVM-based classifier with an accuracy of 84%, a sensitivity of 88%, a specificity of 80%, and a precision of 92%. The results are found explainable from both machine learning and medical perspectives. A privacy-protected web portal is set up to help medical personnel in their practice and the trained models are released for developers to further build other applications. We hope our results can help the world fight this pandemic and welcome clinical verification of our approach on larger populations.

EPINE: Enhanced Proximity Information Network Embedding Machine Learning

Unsupervised homogeneous network embedding (NE) represents every vertex of networks into a low-dimensional vector and meanwhile preserves the network information. Adjacency matrices retain most of the network information, and directly charactrize the first-order proximity. In this work, we devote to mining valuable information in adjacency matrices at a deeper level. Under the same objective, many NE methods calculate high-order proximity by the powers of adjacency matrices, which is not accurate and well-designed enough. Instead, we propose to redefine high-order proximity in a more intuitive manner. Besides, we design a novel algorithm for calculation, which alleviates the scalability problem in the field of accurate calculation for high-order proximity. Comprehensive experiments on real-world network datasets demonstrate the effectiveness of our method in downstream machine learning tasks such as network reconstruction, link prediction and node classification.

Deep Attentive Features for Prostate Segmentation in 3D Transrectal Ultrasound Artificial Intelligence

Automatic prostate segmentation in transrectal ultrasound (TRUS) images is of essential importance for image-guided prostate interventions and treatment planning. However, developing such automatic solutions remains very challenging due to the missing/ambiguous boundary and inhomogeneous intensity distribution of the prostate in TRUS, as well as the large variability in prostate shapes. This paper develops a novel 3D deep neural network equipped with attention modules for better prostate segmentation in TRUS by fully exploiting the complementary information encoded in different layers of the convolutional neural network (CNN). Our attention module utilizes the attention mechanism to selectively leverage the multilevel features integrated from different layers to refine the features at each individual layer, suppressing the non-prostate noise at shallow layers of the CNN and increasing more prostate details into features at deep layers. Experimental results on challenging 3D TRUS volumes show that our method attains satisfactory segmentation performance. The proposed attention mechanism is a general strategy to aggregate multi-level deep features and has the potential to be used for other medical image segmentation tasks. The code is publicly available at

Variance reduction properties of the reparameterization trick Machine Learning

The reparameterization trick is widely used in variational inference as it yields more accurate estimates of the gradient of the variational objective than alternative approaches such as the score function method. Although there is overwhelming empirical evidence in the literature showing its success, there is relatively little research exploring why the reparameterization trick is so effective. We explore this under the idealized assumptions that the variational approximation is a mean-field Gaussian density and that the log of the joint density of the model parameters and the data is a quadratic function that depends on the variational mean. From this, we show that the marginal variances of the reparameterization gradient estimator are smaller than those of the score function gradient estimator. We apply the result of our idealized analysis to real-world examples.

Discovery of Important Crossroads in Road Network using Massive Taxi Trajectories Artificial Intelligence

A major problem in road network analysis is discovery of important crossroads, which can provide useful information for transport planning. However, none of existing approaches addresses the problem of identifying network-wide important crossroads in real road network. In this paper, we propose a novel data-driven based approach named CRRank to rank important crossroads. Our key innovation is that we model the trip network reflecting real travel demands with a tripartite graph, instead of solely analysis on the topology of road network. To compute the importance scores of crossroads accurately, we propose a HITS-like ranking algorithm, in which a procedure of score propagation on our tripartite graph is performed. We conduct experiments on CRRank using a real-world dataset of taxi trajectories. Experiments verify the utility of CRRank.