Team, Visitors, External Collaborators
Overall Objectives
Research Program
Application Domains
Highlights of the Year
New Software and Platforms
New Results
Bilateral Contracts and Grants with Industry
Partnerships and Cooperations
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Section: New Results

Mixture models

Hierarchical mixture of linear mappings in high dimension

Participant : Florence Forbes.

Joint work with: Benjamin Lemasson from Grenoble Institute of Neuroscience, Naisyin Wang and Chun-Chen Tu from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA.

Regression is a widely used statistical tool. A large number of applications consists of learning the association between responses and predictors. From such an association, different tasks, including prediction, can then be conducted. To go beyond simple linear models while maintaining tractability, non-linear mappings can be handled through exploration of local linearity. The non-linear relationship can be captured by a mixture of locally linear regression models as proposed in the so-called Gaussian Locally Linear Mapping (GLLiM) model [6] that assumes Gaussian noise models. In the past year, we have been working on several extensions and applications of GLLiM as described below and the next two subsections.

We proposed a structured mixture model called Hierarchical Locally Linear Mapping (HGLLiM), to predict low-dimensional responses based on high dimensional covariates when the associations between the responses and the covariates are non-linear. For tractability, HGLLiM adopts inverse regression to handle the high dimension and locally-linear mappings to capture potentially non-linear relations. Data with similar associations are grouped together to form a cluster. A mixture is composed of several clusters following a hierarchical structure. This structure enables shared covariance matrices and latent factors across smaller clusters to limit the number of parameters to estimate. Moreover, HGLLiM adopts a robust estimation procedure for model stability. We used three real-world datasets to demonstrate different features of HGLLiM. With the face dataset, HGLLiM shows the ability of modeling non-linear relationship through mixtures. With the orange juice dataset, we show the prediction performance of HGLLiM is robust to the presence of outliers. Moreover, we demonstrated that HGLLiM is capable of handling large-scale complex data using the data acquired from a magnetic resonance vascular fingerprinting (MRvF) study. These examples illustrate the wide applicability of HGLLiM on handling different aspects of a complex data structure in prediction. A preliminary version of this work under revision for JRSS-C can be found in [72].

Dictionary-free MR fingerprinting parameter estimation via inverse regression

Participants : Florence Forbes, Fabien Boux, Julyan Arbel.

Joint work with: Emmanuel Barbier from Grenoble Institute of Neuroscience.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can map a wide range of tissue properties but is often limited to observe a single parameter at a time. In order to overcome this problem, Ma et al. introduced magnetic resonance fingerprinting (MRF), a procedure based on a dictionary of simulated couples of signals and parameters. Acquired signals called fingerprints are then matched to the closest signal in the dictionary in order to estimate parameters. This requires an exhaustive search in the dictionary, which even for moderately sized problems, becomes costly and possibly intractable . We propose an alternative approach to estimate more parameters at a time. Instead of an exhaustive search for every signal, we use the dictionary to learn the functional relationship between signals and parameters. This allows the direct estimation of parameters without the need of searching through the dictionary. We investigated the use of GLLiM [6] that bypasses the problems associated with high-to-low regression. The experimental validation of our method is performed in the context of vascular fingerprinting. The comparison between a standard grid search and the proposed approach suggest that MR Fingerprinting could benefit from a regression approach to limit dictionary size and fasten computation time. Preliminary tests and results have been presented at International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine conference, ISMRM 2018 [35].

Massive analysis of multi-angular hyperspectral images of the planet Mars by inverse regression of physical models

Participants : Florence Forbes, Benoit Kugler.

Joint work with: Sylvain Douté from Institut de Planétologie et d’Astrophysique de Grenoble (IPAG).

In the starting PhD of Benoit Kugler, the objective is to develop a statistical learning technique capable of solving a complex inverse problem in planetary remote sensing. The challenges are 1) the large number of observations to to inverse, 2) their large dimension, 3) the need to provide predictions for correlated parameters and 4) the need to provide a quality index (eg. uncertainty). To achieve this goal, we have started to investigate a setting in which a physical model is available to provide simulations that can then be used for learning prior to inversion of real observed data. For the learning step to be as accurate as possible, an initial task is then to estimate the best fit of the theoretical model to the real data. We proposed an iterative procedure based on a combination of GLLiM [6] predictions and importance sampling steps.

Quantitative MRI Characterization of Brain Abnormalities in de novo Parkinsonian patients

Participants : Florence Forbes, Veronica Munoz Ramirez, Alexis Arnaud, Julyan Arbel.

Joint work with: Michel Dojat from Grenoble Institute of Neuroscience.

Currently there is an important delay between the onset of Parkinson's disease and its diagnosis. The detection of changes in physical properties of brain structures may help to detect the disease earlier. In this work, we proposed to take advantage of the informative features provided by quantitative MRI to construct statistical models representing healthy brain tissues. We used mixture models of non Gaussian distributions [8] to capture the non-standard shape of the data multivariate distribution. This allowed us to detect atypical values for these features in the brain of Parkinsonian patients following a procedure similar to that in [16]. Promising preliminary results demonstrate the potential of our approach in discriminating patients from controls and revealing the subcortical structures the most impacted by the disease. This work has been accepted at the IEEE International Symposium on Biological Imaging, ISBI 2019 [36].

No structural differences are revealed by voxel-based morphometry in de novo Parkinsonian patients

Participants : Florence Forbes, Veronica Munoz Ramirez.

Joint work with: Michel Dojat from Grenoble Institute of Neuroscience and Pierrick Coupé from Laboratoire Bordelais de Recherche en Informatique, UMR 5800, Univ. Bordeaux, Talence.

The identification of brain morphological alterations in newly diagnosed PD patients (i.e. de novo) could potentially serve as a biomarker and accelerate diagnosis. However, presently no consensus exists in the literature possibly due to several factors: small size cohorts, differences in segmentation techniques or bad control of false positive rates. In this study, we seek, using the Computational Anatomy Toolbox (CAT12) (University of Jena) pipeline, for morphological brain differences in gray and white matter of 66 controls and 144 de novo PD patients whose data were extracted from the PPMI (Parkinson Progressive Markers Initiative) database. Moreover, we searched for subcortical structure differences using the new online platform VolBrain (J. V. Manjón and P. Coupé, “volBrain: An Online MRI Brain Volumetry System,” Front. Neuroinform., vol. 10, p. 30, Jul. 2016). We found no structural brain differences in this de novo Parkinsonian population, neither in tissues using a whole brain analysis nor in any of nine subcortical structures analyzed separately. We concluded that some results published in the literature appear as false positives and are not reproducible.

Characterization of daily glycemic variability in the patient with type 1 diabetes

Participants : Florence Forbes, Fei Zheng.

Joint work with: Stéphane Bonnet from CEA Leti and Pierre-Yves Benhamou, Manon Jalbert from CHU Grenoble Alpes.

Glycemic variability (GV) is an important component of glycemic control in patients with type 1 diabetes. Many metrics have been proposed to account for this variability but none is unanimous among physicians. One difficulty is that the variations in blood sugar levels are expressed very differently from one day to another in some subjects. Our goal was to develop and evaluate the performance of a daily GV index built by combining different known metrics (CV, MAGE, GVP etc). This in order to merge their descriptive power to obtain a more complete and more accurate index. This preliminary study will be presented at the Société Francophone du Diabète (SFD) in 2019 [46].

Glycemic variability improves after pancreatic islet transplantation in patients with type 1 diabetes

Participants : Florence Forbes, Fei Zheng.

Joint work with: Stéphane Bonnet from CEA Leti and Pierre-Yves Benhamou, Manon Jalbert from CHU Grenoble Alpes.

Glycemic variability (GV) must be taken into account in the efficacy of treatment of type 1 diabetes because it determines the quality of glycemic control, the risk of complication of the patient's disease. Our goal in this study was to describe GV scores in patients with pancreatic islet transplantation (PIT) type 1 diabetes in the TRIMECO trial, and change of thresholds, for each index. predictive of success of PIT.

Dirichlet process mixtures under affine transformations of the data

Participant : Julyan Arbel.

Joint work with: Riccardo Corradin from Milano Bicocca, Italy and Bernardo Nipoti from Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.

Location-scale Dirichlet process mixtures of Gaussians (DPM-G) have proved extremely useful in dealing with density estimation and clustering problems in a wide range of domains. Motivated by an astronomical application, in this work we address the robustness of DPM-G models to affine transformations of the data, a natural requirement for any sensible statistical method for density estimation. In [57], we first devise a coherent prior specification of the model which makes posterior inference invariant with respect to affine transformation of the data. Second, we formalize the notion of asymptotic robustness under data transformation and show that mild assumptions on the true data generating process are sufficient to ensure that DPM-G models feature such a property. As a by-product, we derive weaker assumptions than those provided in the literature for ensuring posterior consistency of Dirichlet process mixtures, which could reveal of independent interest. Our investigation is supported by an extensive simulation study and illustrated by the analysis of an astronomical dataset consisting of physical measurements of stars in the field of the globular cluster NGC 2419.

Applications of mixture models in Industry

Participant : Julyan Arbel.

Joint work with: Kerrie Mengersen, Earl Duncan, Clair Alston-Knox and Nicole White.

A very wide range of commonly encountered problems in industry are amenable to statistical mixture modelling and analysis. These include process monitoring or quality control, efficient resource allocation, risk assessment, prediction, and so on. Commonly articulated reasons for adopting a mixture approach include the ability to describe non-standard outcomes and processes, the potential to characterize each of a set of multiple outcomes or processes via the mixture components, the concomitant improvement in interpretability of the results, and the opportunity to make probabilistic inferences such as component membership and overall prediction.

In [51], We illustrate the wide diversity of applications of mixture models to problems in industry, and the potential advantages of these approaches, through a series of case studies.

Approximation results regarding the multiple-output mixture of the Gaussian-gated linear experts model

Participant : Florence Forbes.

Joint work with: Hien Nguyen, La Trobe University Melbourne Australia and Faicel Chamroukhi, Caen University, France.

Mixture of experts (MoE) models are a class of artificial neural networks that can be used for functional approximation and probabilistic modeling. An important class of MoE models is the class of mixture of linear experts (MoLE) models, where the expert functions map to real topological output spaces. Recently, Gaussian-gated MoLE models have become popular in applied research. There are a number of powerful approximation results regarding Gaussian-gated MoLE models, when the output space is univariate. These results guarantee the ability of Gaussian-gated MoLE mean functions to approximate arbitrary continuous functions, and Gaussian-gated MoLE models themselves to approximate arbitrary conditional probability density functions. We utilized and extended upon the univariate approximation results in order to prove a pair of useful results for situations where the output spaces are multivariate. We do this by proving a pair of lemmas regarding the combination of univariate MoLE models, which are interesting in their own rights.

Models for ranking data

Participant : Marta Crispino.

within the BigInsight project, Oslo.

We developed a new method and algorithms for working with ranking data. This kind of data is particularly relevant in applications involving personalized recommendations. In particular, we have invented a new Bayesian approach based on extensions of the Mallows model, which allows making personalized recommendations equipped with a level of uncertainty.

The Mallows model (MM) is a popular parametric family of models for ranking data, based on the assumption that a modal ranking, which can be interpreted as the consensus ranking of the population, exists. The probability of observing a given ranking is then assumed to decay exponentially fast as its distance from the consensus grows. The MM is therefore a two-parameter distance-based family of models. The scale or precision parameter, controlling the concentration of the distribution determines the rate of decay of the probability of individual ranks. Individual models with different properties can be obtained depending on the choice of distance on the space of permutations. A major drawback of the MM is that its computational complexity has limited its use to a particular form based on Kendall distance. We develop new computationally tractable methods for Bayesian inference in Mallows models that work with any right-invariant distance. Our method performs inference on the consensus ranking of the items, also when based on partial rankings, such as top-k items or pairwise comparisons. When assessors are many or heterogeneous, we propose a mixture model for clustering them in homogeneous subgroups, with cluster specific consensus rankings. We develop approximate stochastic algorithms that allow a fully probabilistic analysis, leading to coherent quantifications of uncertainties, make probabilistic predictions on the class membership of assessors based on their ranking of just some items, and predict missing individual preferences, as needed in recommendation systems. The methodology has been published in the Journal of Machine Learning Research, JMLR, in early 2018.

A generalization of the model above involves dealing with non-transitive and heterogeneous pairwise comparison data, coming from an experiment within the musicology domain. We thus develop a mixture model extension of the Bayesian Mallows model able to handle non-transitive data, with a latent layer of uncertainty which captures the generation of preference misreporting. This paper was recently accepted for publication in the Annals of Applied Statistics, AoAS.

Within this project, we also write a survey paper, whose main goal is to compare the performance of our method with other existing methodologies, including the Plackett-Luce, the Bradley-Terry, the collaborative filtering methods, and some of their variations. We illustrate and discuss the use of these models by means of an experiment in which assessors rank potatoes, and with a simulation. The purpose of this paper is not to recommend the use of one best method, but to present a palette of different possibilities for different questions and different types of data. This was recently accepted on the Annual Review of Statistics and Its Applications, ARSIA.