Differentiable sorting for censored time-to-event data.

Andre Vauvelle · Benjamin Wild · Roland Eils · Spiros Denaxas

Great Hall & Hall B1+B2 (level 1) #329
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Tue 12 Dec 8:45 a.m. PST — 10:45 a.m. PST


Survival analysis is a crucial semi-supervised task in machine learning with significant real-world applications, especially in healthcare. The most common approach to survival analysis, Cox’s partial likelihood, can be interpreted as a ranking model optimized on a lower bound of the concordance index. We follow these connections further, with listwise ranking losses that allow for a relaxation of the pairwise independence assumption. Given the inherent transitivity of ranking, we explore differentiable sorting networks as a means to introduce a stronger transitive inductive bias during optimization. Despite their potential, current differentiable sorting methods cannot account for censoring, a crucial aspect of many real-world datasets. We propose a novel method, Diffsurv, to overcome this limitation by extending differentiable sorting methods to handle censored tasks. Diffsurv predicts matrices of possible permutations that accommodate the label uncertainty introduced by censored samples. Our experiments reveal that Diffsurv outperforms established baselines in various simulated and real-world risk prediction scenarios. Furthermore, we demonstrate the algorithmic advantages of Diffsurv by presenting a novel method for top-k risk prediction that surpasses current methods.

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