Ensembling Neural Networks for Improved Prediction and Privacy in Early Diagnosis of Sepsis
Proceedings of the 7th Machine Learning for Healthcare Conference, PMLR 182:123-145, 2022.
Ensembling neural networks is a long-standing technique for improving the generalization error of neural networks by combining networks with orthogonal properties via a committee decision. We show that this technique is an ideal fit for machine learning on medical data: First, ensembles are amenable to parallel and asynchronous learning, thus enabling efficient training of patient-specific component neural networks. Second, building on the idea of minimizing generalization error by selecting uncorrelated patient-specific networks, we show that one can build an ensemble of a few selected patient-specific models that outperforms a single model trained on much larger pooled datasets. Third, the non-iterative ensemble combination step is an optimal low-dimensional entry point to apply output perturbation to guarantee the privacy of the patient-specific networks. We exemplify our framework of differentially private ensembles on the task of early prediction of sepsis, using real-life intensive care unit data labeled by clinical experts.