• Automatic Inference of Graph Models for Complex Networks with Genetic Programming

      Bailey, Alexander; Department of Computer Science (Brock University, 2013-07-26)
      Complex networks can arise naturally and spontaneously from all things that act as a part of a larger system. From the patterns of socialization between people to the way biological systems organize themselves, complex networks are ubiquitous, but are currently poorly understood. A number of algorithms, designed by humans, have been proposed to describe the organizational behaviour of real-world networks. Consequently, breakthroughs in genetics, medicine, epidemiology, neuroscience, telecommunications and the social sciences have recently resulted. The algorithms, called graph models, represent significant human effort. Deriving accurate graph models is non-trivial, time-intensive, challenging and may only yield useful results for very specific phenomena. An automated approach can greatly reduce the human effort required and if effective, provide a valuable tool for understanding the large decentralized systems of interrelated things around us. To the best of the author's knowledge this thesis proposes the first method for the automatic inference of graph models for complex networks with varied properties, with and without community structure. Furthermore, to the best of the author's knowledge it is the first application of genetic programming for the automatic inference of graph models. The system and methodology was tested against benchmark data, and was shown to be capable of reproducing close approximations to well-known algorithms designed by humans. Furthermore, when used to infer a model for real biological data the resulting model was more representative than models currently used in the literature.
    • Disease-Gene Association Using a Genetic Algorithm

      Tahmasebipour, Koosha; Department of Computer Science (Brock University, 2014-10-09)
      Understanding the relationship between genetic diseases and the genes associated with them is an important problem regarding human health. The vast amount of data created from a large number of high-throughput experiments performed in the last few years has resulted in an unprecedented growth in computational methods to tackle the disease gene association problem. Nowadays, it is clear that a genetic disease is not a consequence of a defect in a single gene. Instead, the disease phenotype is a reflection of various genetic components interacting in a complex network. In fact, genetic diseases, like any other phenotype, occur as a result of various genes working in sync with each other in a single or several biological module(s). Using a genetic algorithm, our method tries to evolve communities containing the set of potential disease genes likely to be involved in a given genetic disease. Having a set of known disease genes, we first obtain a protein-protein interaction (PPI) network containing all the known disease genes. All the other genes inside the procured PPI network are then considered as candidate disease genes as they lie in the vicinity of the known disease genes in the network. Our method attempts to find communities of potential disease genes strongly working with one another and with the set of known disease genes. As a proof of concept, we tested our approach on 16 breast cancer genes and 15 Parkinson's Disease genes. We obtained comparable or better results than CIPHER, ENDEAVOUR and GPEC, three of the most reliable and frequently used disease-gene ranking frameworks.
    • Disease-Gene Association Using Genetic Programming

      Entezari Heravi, Ashkan; Department of Computer Science
      As a result of mutation in genes, which is a simple change in our DNA, we will have undesirable phenotypes which are known as genetic diseases or disorders. These small changes, which happen frequently, can have extreme results. Understanding and identifying these changes and associating these mutated genes with genetic diseases can play an important role in our health, by making us able to find better diagnosis and therapeutic strategies for these genetic diseases. As a result of years of experiments, there is a vast amount of data regarding human genome and different genetic diseases that they still need to be processed properly to extract useful information. This work is an effort to analyze some useful datasets and to apply different techniques to associate genes with genetic diseases. Two genetic diseases were studied here: Parkinson’s disease and breast cancer. Using genetic programming, we analyzed the complex network around known disease genes of the aforementioned diseases, and based on that we generated a ranking for genes, based on their relevance to these diseases. In order to generate these rankings, centrality measures of all nodes in the complex network surrounding the known disease genes of the given genetic disease were calculated. Using genetic programming, all the nodes were assigned scores based on the similarity of their centrality measures to those of the known disease genes. Obtained results showed that this method is successful at finding these patterns in centrality measures and the highly ranked genes are worthy as good candidate disease genes for being studied. Using standard benchmark tests, we tested our approach against ENDEAVOUR and CIPHER - two well known disease gene ranking frameworks - and we obtained comparable results.
    • Network Similarity Measures and Automatic Construction of Graph Models using Genetic Programming

      Harrison, Kyle Robert; Department of Computer Science (Brock University, 2014-09-05)
      A complex network is an abstract representation of an intricate system of interrelated elements where the patterns of connection hold significant meaning. One particular complex network is a social network whereby the vertices represent people and edges denote their daily interactions. Understanding social network dynamics can be vital to the mitigation of disease spread as these networks model the interactions, and thus avenues of spread, between individuals. To better understand complex networks, algorithms which generate graphs exhibiting observed properties of real-world networks, known as graph models, are often constructed. While various efforts to aid with the construction of graph models have been proposed using statistical and probabilistic methods, genetic programming (GP) has only recently been considered. However, determining that a graph model of a complex network accurately describes the target network(s) is not a trivial task as the graph models are often stochastic in nature and the notion of similarity is dependent upon the expected behavior of the network. This thesis examines a number of well-known network properties to determine which measures best allowed networks generated by different graph models, and thus the models themselves, to be distinguished. A proposed meta-analysis procedure was used to demonstrate how these network measures interact when used together as classifiers to determine network, and thus model, (dis)similarity. The analytical results form the basis of the fitness evaluation for a GP system used to automatically construct graph models for complex networks. The GP-based automatic inference system was used to reproduce existing, well-known graph models as well as a real-world network. Results indicated that the automatically inferred models exemplified functional similarity when compared to their respective target networks. This approach also showed promise when used to infer a model for a mammalian brain network.
    • Object-Oriented Genetic Programming for the Automatic Inference of Graph Models for Complex Networks

      Medland, Michael; Medland, Michael; Department of Computer Science
      Complex networks are systems of entities that are interconnected through meaningful relationships. The result of the relations between entities forms a structure that has a statistical complexity that is not formed by random chance. In the study of complex networks, many graph models have been proposed to model the behaviours observed. However, constructing graph models manually is tedious and problematic. Many of the models proposed in the literature have been cited as having inaccuracies with respect to the complex networks they represent. However, recently, an approach that automates the inference of graph models was proposed by Bailey [10] The proposed methodology employs genetic programming (GP) to produce graph models that approximate various properties of an exemplary graph of a targeted complex network. However, there is a great deal already known about complex networks, in general, and often specific knowledge is held about the network being modelled. The knowledge, albeit incomplete, is important in constructing a graph model. However it is difficult to incorporate such knowledge using existing GP techniques. Thus, this thesis proposes a novel GP system which can incorporate incomplete expert knowledge that assists in the evolution of a graph model. Inspired by existing graph models, an abstract graph model was developed to serve as an embryo for inferring graph models of some complex networks. The GP system and abstract model were used to reproduce well-known graph models. The results indicated that the system was able to evolve models that produced networks that had structural similarities to the networks generated by the respective target models.