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Title: Improving network inference by overcoming statistical limitations
Author: Cecchini, Gloria
ISNI:       0000 0004 7652 701X
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2019
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A reliable inference of networks from data is of key interest in many scientific fields. Several methods have been suggested in the literature to reliably determine links in a network. These techniques rely on statistical methods, typically controlling the number of false positive links, but not considering false negative links. In this thesis new methodologies to improve network inference are suggested. Initial analyses demonstrate the impact of false positive and false negative conclusions about the presence or absence of links on the resulting inferred network. Consequently, revealing the importance of making well-considered choices leads to suggest new approaches to enhance existing network reconstruction methods. A simulation study, presented in Chapter 3, shows that different values to balance false positive and false negative conclusions about links should be used in order to reliably estimate network characteristics. The existence of type I and type II errors in the reconstructed network, also called biased network, is accepted. Consequently, an analytic method that describes the influence of these two errors on the network structure is explored. As a result of this analysis, an analytic formula of the density of the biased vertex degree distribution is found (Chapter 4). In the inverse problem, the vertex degree distribution of the true underlying network is analytically reconstructed, assuming the probabilities of type I and type II errors. Chapters 4-5 show that the method is robust to incorrect estimates of α and β within reasonable limits. In Chapter 6, an iterative procedure to enhance this method is presented in the case of large errors on the estimates of α and β. The investigations presented so far focus on the influence of false positive and false negative links on the network characteristics. In Chapter 7, the analysis is reversed - the study focuses on the influence of network characteristics on the probability of type I and type II errors, in the case of networks of coupled oscillators. The probabilities of α and β are influenced by the shortest path length and the detour degree, respectively. These results have been used to improve the network reconstruction, when the true underlying network is not known a priori, introducing a novel and advanced concept of threshold.
Supervisor: Schelter, Bjoern Sponsor: European Union's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: System analysis ; Inference