Scientific Reports (Jun 2021)

Robust diagnostic classification via Q-learning

  • Victor Ardulov,
  • Victor R. Martinez,
  • Krishna Somandepalli,
  • Shuting Zheng,
  • Emma Salzman,
  • Catherine Lord,
  • Somer Bishop,
  • Shrikanth Narayanan

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 11, no. 1
pp. 1 – 9


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Abstract Machine learning (ML) models have demonstrated the power of utilizing clinical instruments to provide tools for domain experts in gaining additional insights toward complex clinical diagnoses. In this context these tools desire two additional properties: interpretability, being able to audit and understand the decision function, and robustness, being able to assign the correct label in spite of missing or noisy inputs. This work formulates diagnostic classification as a decision-making process and utilizes Q-learning to build classifiers that meet the aforementioned desired criteria. As an exemplary task, we simulate the process of differentiating Autism Spectrum Disorder from Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder in verbal school aged children. This application highlights how reinforcement learning frameworks can be utilized to train more robust classifiers by jointly learning to maximize diagnostic accuracy while minimizing the amount of information required.