Multitask Boosting for Survival Analysis with Competing Risks

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 31 (NeurIPS 2018)

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Alexis Bellot, Mihaela van der Schaar


The co-occurrence of multiple diseases among the general population is an important problem as those patients have more risk of complications and represent a large share of health care expenditure. Learning to predict time-to-event probabilities for these patients is a challenging problem because the risks of events are correlated (there are competing risks) with often only few patients experiencing individual events of interest, and of those only a fraction are actually observed in the data. We introduce in this paper a survival model with the flexibility to leverage a common representation of related events that is designed to correct for the strong imbalance in observed outcomes. The procedure is sequential: outcome-specific survival distributions form the components of nonparametric multivariate estimators which we combine into an ensemble in such a way as to ensure accurate predictions on all outcome types simultaneously. Our algorithm is general and represents the first boosting-like method for time-to-event data with multiple outcomes. We demonstrate the performance of our algorithm on synthetic and real data.