MIT computer scientists are hoping to accelerate the use of Artificial Intelligence to improve medical decision-making, by automating a key step that’s usually done by hand — and that’s becoming more laborious as certain datasets grow ever-larger.
The field of predictive analytics holds increasing promise for helping clinicians diagnose and treat patients. Machine-learning models can be trained to find patterns in patient data to aid in sepsis care, design safer chemotherapy regimens, and predict a patient’s risk of having breast cancer or dying in the ICU, to name just a few examples.
Typically, training datasets consist of many sick and healthy subjects, but with relatively little data for each subject. Experts must then find just those aspects — or “features” — in the datasets that will be important for making predictions.
This “feature engineering” can be a laborious and expensive process. But it’s becoming even more challenging with the rise of wearable sensors, because researchers can more easily monitor patients’ biometrics over long periods, tracking sleeping patterns, gait, and voice activity, for example. After only a week’s worth of monitoring, experts could have several billion data samples for each subject.
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