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  1. Abstract

    Large-scale multiple perturbation experiments have the potential to reveal a more detailed understanding of the molecular pathways that respond to genetic and environmental changes. A key question in these studies is which gene expression changes are important for the response to the perturbation. This problem is challenging because (i) the functional form of the nonlinear relationship between gene expression and the perturbation is unknown and (ii) identification of the most important genes is a high-dimensional variable selection problem. To deal with these challenges, we present here a method based on the model-X knockoffs framework and Deep Neural Networks to identify significant gene expression changes in multiple perturbation experiments. This approach makes no assumptions on the functional form of the dependence between the responses and the perturbations and it enjoys finite sample false discovery rate control for the selected set of important gene expression responses. We apply this approach to the Library of Integrated Network-Based Cellular Signature data sets which is a National Institutes of Health Common Fund program that catalogs how human cells globally respond to chemical, genetic and disease perturbations. We identified important genes whose expression is directly modulated in response to perturbation with anthracycline, vorinostat, trichostatin-a, geldanamycin and sirolimus. We compare the set of important genes that respond to these small molecules to identify co-responsive pathways. Identification of which genes respond to specific perturbation stressors can provide better understanding of the underlying mechanisms of disease and advance the identification of new drug targets.

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  2. Segata, Nicola (Ed.)
    The understanding of bacterial gene function has been greatly enhanced by recent advancements in the deep sequencing of microbial genomes. Transposon insertion sequencing methods combines next-generation sequencing techniques with transposon mutagenesis for the exploration of the essentiality of genes under different environmental conditions. We propose a model-based method that uses regularized negative binomial regression to estimate the change in transposon insertions attributable to gene-environment changes in this genetic interaction study without transformations or uniform normalization. An empirical Bayes model for estimating the local false discovery rate combines unique and total count information to test for genes that show a statistically significant change in transposon counts. When applied to RB-TnSeq (randomized barcode transposon sequencing) and Tn-seq (transposon sequencing) libraries made in strains of Caulobacter crescentus using both total and unique count data the model was able to identify a set of conditionally beneficial or conditionally detrimental genes for each target condition that shed light on their functions and roles during various stress conditions. 
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    Hierarchical clustering is a critical task in numerous domains. Many approaches are based on heuristics and the properties of the resulting clusterings are studied post hoc. However, in several applications, there is a natural cost function that can be used to characterize the quality of the clustering. In those cases, hierarchical clustering can be seen as a combinatorial optimization problem. To that end, we introduce a new approach based on A* search. We overcome the prohibitively large search space by combining A* with a novel \emph{trellis} data structure. This combination results in an exact algorithm that scales beyond previous state of the art, from a search space with 10^12 trees to 10^15 trees, and an approximate algorithm that improves over baselines, even in enormous search spaces that contain more than 10^1000 trees. We empirically demonstrate that our method achieves substantially higher quality results than baselines for a particle physics use case and other clustering benchmarks. We describe how our method provides significantly improved theoretical bounds on the time and space complexity of A* for clustering. 
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  7. For many classic structured prediction problems, probability distributions over the dependent variables can be efficiently computed using widely-known algorithms and data structures (such as forward-backward, and its corresponding trellis for exact probability distributions in Markov models). However, we know of no previ- ous work studying efficient representations of exact distributions over clusterings. This paper presents definitions and proofs for a dynamic-programming inference procedure that computes the partition function, the marginal probability of a cluster, and the MAP clustering—all exactly. Rather than the N th Bell number, these exact solutions take time and space proportional to the substantially smaller powerset of N . Indeed, we improve upon the time complexity of the algorithm introduced by Kohonen and Corander [11] for this problem by a factor of N. While still large, this previously unknown result is intellectually interesting in its own right, makes feasible exact inference for important real-world small data applications (such as medicine), and provides a natural stepping stone towards sparse-trellis approximations that enable further scalability (which we also explore). In experi- ments, we demonstrate the superiority of our approach over approximate methods in analyzing real-world gene expression data used in cancer treatment. 
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