Section: Application Domains

Medical Applications

One of the initial motivations of the multi-arm bandit theory stems from clinical trials when one researches the effects of different treatments while maximizing the improvement of the patients' health states.

Medical health-care and in particular patient-management is up today one of the most important applications of the sequential decision making. This is because the treatment of the more complex health problems is typically sequential: A physician repeatedly observes the current state of the patient and makes the decision in order to improve the health condition as measured for example by qualys (quality adjusted life years).

Moreover, machine learning methods may be used for at least two means in neuroscience:

  1. as in any other (experimental) scientific domain, the machine learning methods relying heavily on statistics, they may be used to analyse experimental data,

  2. dealing with induction learning, that is the ability to generalize from facts which is an ability that is considered to be one of the basic components of “intelligence”, machine learning may be considered as a model of learning in living beings. In particular, the temporal difference methods for reinforcement learning have strong ties with various concepts of psychology (Thorndike's law of effect, and the Rescorla-Wagner law to name the two most well-known).