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Machine learning landscapes and predictions for patient outcomes


The theory and computational tools developed to interpret and explore energy landscapes in molecular science are applied to the landscapes defined by local minima for neural networks. These machine learning landscapes correspond to fits of training data, where the inputs are vital signs and laboratory measurements for a database of patients, and the objective is to predict a clinical outcome. In this contribution, we test the predictions obtained by fitting to single measurements, and then to combinations of between 2 and 10 different patient medical data items. The effect of including measurements over different time intervals from the 48 h period in question is analysed, and the most recent values are found to be the most important. We also compare results obtained for neural networks as a function of the number of hidden nodes, and for different values of a regularization parameter. The predictions are compared with an alternative convex fitting function, and a strong correlation is observed. The dependence of these results on the patients randomly selected for training and testing decreases systematically with the size of the database available. The machine learning landscapes defined by neural network fits in this investigation have single-funnel character, which probably explains why it is relatively straightforward to obtain the global minimum solution, or a fit that behaves similarly to this optimal parameterization.