February 28, 2024

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NUS Advancing Data Analysis with Manifold Learning

Statisticians at the National University of Singapore (NUS) have unveiled a groundbreaking method that promises to revolutionise data analysis, particularly in fields like single-cell RNA sequencing, by effectively capturing and analysing intricate data patterns with unprecedented accuracy and efficiency.

Led by Associate Professor Yao Zhigang and Research Fellow Su Jiaji from NUS’s Department of Statistics and Data Science, the team introduced a cutting-edge approach for estimating low-dimensional manifolds within high-dimensional data, leveraging deep Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) to achieve unparalleled accuracy and computational efficiency.

Collaborating with Professor Shing-Tung Yau from the Yau Mathematical Sciences Centre (YMSC) at Tsinghua University, this work builds upon Prof. Yao’s collaboration with Prof. Yau during his sabbatical visit to the Centre of Mathematical Sciences and Applications (CMSA) at Harvard University.

Conventional data analysis techniques often rely on linear dependencies among features, failing to adequately capture the intricate patterns present in high-dimensional data that are often situated near low-dimensional manifolds.

To address this limitation, manifold-learning methods have emerged as a promising alternative, yet existing approaches like manifold embedding and denoising have been hindered by a lack of detailed geometric understanding and robust theoretical foundations.

Professor Yao and Su forged an innovative method for accurately estimating low-dimensional manifolds concealed within high-dimensional data. This method not only achieves state-of-the-art accuracy in estimation and convergence rates but also improves computational efficiency by leveraging deep Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs).

Overcoming the limitations of conventional data analysis methods, the new technique focuses on accurately fitting manifolds to reduce data dimensionality while preserving crucial information, thus enabling a more comprehensive understanding of complex data structures across diverse fields such as genomics, social media analysis, and IoT sensor networks.

Assoc Prof Yao emphasised the significance of this advancement, stating, “By accurately fitting manifolds, we can reduce data dimensionality while preserving crucial information, including the underlying geometric structure. This represents a major leap in data analysis, enhancing both accuracy and efficiency.”

The manifold fitting method holds promise for applications in RNA sequencing and biodata analysis, particularly in refining clustering accuracy and enhancing data visualisation in single-cell RNA sequencing research. Additionally, its integration with deep learning could revolutionise disease prediction models, offering insights into complex neurological conditions and advancing the field of personalised medicine.

Moving forward, Assoc Prof Yao’s team is actively refining the framework to process even more complex data, collaborating closely with researchers at Tsinghua University to push the boundaries of data analysis and unlock new possibilities for scientific discovery.

As NUS statisticians unveil this new method for revolutionising data analysis, at NTU’s Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Assistant Professor Hiroshi Makino’s research sheds light on the brain’s ability to integrate learned skills, forging a significant connection between advancements in artificial intelligence and our understanding of cognitive processes.

By training mice in behavioural experiments and observing neural activity, Makino uncovers a mechanism where the brain combines representations of pre-learned action values from constituent subtasks to accomplish composite tasks.

This insight not only enhances understanding of cognitive functions but also holds implications for improving AI models, as it highlights parallels between deep reinforcement learning algorithms and biological learning mechanisms.

The study’s incorporation of theoretical predictions from deep reinforcement learning provides a framework for understanding the brain’s learning process observed in mice. Assistant Professor Makino’s research showcases a convergence between artificial and biological systems, as theoretical predictions are validated through empirical testing on mice.

This work not only unravels the mysteries of how the brain combines learned skills but also establishes a crucial connection between artificial intelligence models and biological systems, fostering further exploration into the mechanisms that promote exploration for future learning in both neuroscience and AI.

PARTNER

Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

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CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

Since 1972, CTC has established itself as one of the country’s top IT solutions providers. With 50 years of experience, headed by an experienced management team and staffed by over 200 qualified IT professionals, we support organizations with integrated IT solutions expertise in Autonomous IT, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Well-known for our strengths in system integration and consultation, CTC Global proves to be the preferred IT outsourcing destination for organizations all over Singapore today.

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Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

SUPPORTING ORGANISATION

SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

PARTNER

HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

PARTNER

IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.

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