A Mixture Model System for Medical and Machine Diagnosis

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 7 (NIPS 1994)

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Magnus Stensmo, Terrence J. Sejnowski


Diagnosis of human disease or machine fault is a missing data problem since many variables are initially unknown. Additional information needs to be obtained. The j oint probability distribution of the data can be used to solve this problem. We model this with mixture models whose parameters are estimated by the EM algorithm. This gives the benefit that missing data in the database itself can also be handled correctly. The request for new information to refine the diagnosis is performed using the maximum utility principle. Since the system is based on learning it is domain independent and less labor intensive than expert systems or probabilistic networks. An example using a heart disease database is presented.