NIPS Proceedingsβ

Efficient Learning of Continuous-Time Hidden Markov Models for Disease Progression

Part of: Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 28 (NIPS 2015)

A note about reviews: "heavy" review comments were provided by reviewers in the program committee as part of the evaluation process for NIPS 2015, along with posted responses during the author feedback period. Numerical scores from both "heavy" and "light" reviewers are not provided in the review link below.

[PDF] [BibTeX] [Supplemental] [Reviews]


Conference Event Type: Poster


The Continuous-Time Hidden Markov Model (CT-HMM) is an attractive approach to modeling disease progression due to its ability to describe noisy observations arriving irregularly in time. However, the lack of an efficient parameter learning algorithm for CT-HMM restricts its use to very small models or requires unrealistic constraints on the state transitions. In this paper, we present the first complete characterization of efficient EM-based learning methods for CT-HMM models. We demonstrate that the learning problem consists of two challenges: the estimation of posterior state probabilities and the computation of end-state conditioned statistics. We solve the first challenge by reformulating the estimation problem in terms of an equivalent discrete time-inhomogeneous hidden Markov model. The second challenge is addressed by adapting three approaches from the continuous time Markov chain literature to the CT-HMM domain. We demonstrate the use of CT-HMMs with more than 100 states to visualize and predict disease progression using a glaucoma dataset and an Alzheimer's disease dataset.