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See detailBiological data analysis as an information theory problem: multivariable dependence measures and the shadows algorithm
Sakhanenko, Nikita A.; Galas, David J. UL

in Journal of Computational Biology (2015), 22(11), 1005-1024

Information theory is valuable in multiple-variable analysis for being model-free and nonparametric, and for the modest sensitivity to undersampling. We previously introduced a general approach to finding ... [more ▼]

Information theory is valuable in multiple-variable analysis for being model-free and nonparametric, and for the modest sensitivity to undersampling. We previously introduced a general approach to finding multiple dependencies that provides accurate measures of levels of dependency for subsets of variables in a data set, which is significantly nonzero only if the subset of variables is collectively dependent. This is useful, however, only if we can avoid a combinatorial explosion of calculations for increasing numbers of variables. The proposed dependence measure for a subset of variables, tau, differential interaction information, Delta(tau), has the property that for subsets of tau some of the factors of Delta(tau) are significantly nonzero, when the full dependence includes more variables. We use this property to suppress the combinatorial explosion by following the "shadows" of multivariable dependency on smaller subsets. Rather than calculating the marginal entropies of all subsets at each degree level, we need to consider only calculations for subsets of variables with appropriate "shadows." The number of calculations for n variables at a degree level of d grows therefore, at a much smaller rate than the binomial coefficient (n, d), but depends on the parameters of the "shadows" calculation. This approach, avoiding a combinatorial explosion, enables the use of our multivariable measures on very large data sets. We demonstrate this method on simulated data sets, and characterize the effects of noise and sample numbers. In addition, we analyze a data set of a few thousand mutant yeast strains interacting with a few thousand chemical compounds. [less ▲]

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See detailDescribing the complexity of systems: multivariable "set complexity" and the information basis of systems biology.
Galas, David J.; Sakhanenko, Nikita A.; Skupin, Alexander UL et al

in Journal of Computational Biology (2014), 21(2), 118-40

Context dependence is central to the description of complexity. Keying on the pairwise definition of "set complexity," we use an information theory approach to formulate general measures of systems ... [more ▼]

Context dependence is central to the description of complexity. Keying on the pairwise definition of "set complexity," we use an information theory approach to formulate general measures of systems complexity. We examine the properties of multivariable dependency starting with the concept of interaction information. We then present a new measure for unbiased detection of multivariable dependency, "differential interaction information." This quantity for two variables reduces to the pairwise "set complexity" previously proposed as a context-dependent measure of information in biological systems. We generalize it here to an arbitrary number of variables. Critical limiting properties of the "differential interaction information" are key to the generalization. This measure extends previous ideas about biological information and provides a more sophisticated basis for the study of complexity. The properties of "differential interaction information" also suggest new approaches to data analysis. Given a data set of system measurements, differential interaction information can provide a measure of collective dependence, which can be represented in hypergraphs describing complex system interaction patterns. We investigate this kind of analysis using simulated data sets. The conjoining of a generalized set complexity measure, multivariable dependency analysis, and hypergraphs is our central result. While our focus is on complex biological systems, our results are applicable to any complex system. [less ▲]

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See detailProbabilistic Logic Methods and Some Applications to Biology and Medicine
Sakhanenko, Nikita A.; Galas, David J. UL

in Journal of Computational Biology (2012), 19(3), 316-336

For the computational analysis of biological problems—analyzing data, inferring networks and complex models, and estimating model parameters—it is common to use a range of methods based on probabilistic ... [more ▼]

For the computational analysis of biological problems—analyzing data, inferring networks and complex models, and estimating model parameters—it is common to use a range of methods based on probabilistic logic constructions, sometimes collectively called machine learning methods. Probabilistic modeling methods such as Bayesian Networks (BN) fall into this class, as do Hierarchical Bayesian Networks (HBN), Probabilistic Boolean Networks (PBN), Hidden Markov Models (HMM), and Markov Logic Networks (MLN). In this re- view, we describe the most general of these (MLN), and show how the above-mentioned methods are related to MLN and one another by the imposition of constraints and re- strictions. This approach allows us to illustrate a broad landscape of constructions and methods, and describe some of the attendant strengths, weaknesses, and constraints of many of these methods. We then provide some examples of their applications to problems in biology and medicine, with an emphasis on genetics. The key concepts needed to picture this landscape of methods are the ideas of probabilistic graphical models, the structures of the graphs, and the scope of the logical language repertoire used (from First-Order Logic [FOL] to Boolean logic.) These concepts are interlinked and together define the nature of each of the probabilistic logic methods. Finally, we discuss the initial applications of MLN to ge- netics, show the relationship to less general methods like BN, and then mention several examples where such methods could be effective in new applications to specific biological and medical problems. [less ▲]

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