An Efficient Training Algorithm for Kernel Survival Support Vector Machines


Survival analysis is a fundamental tool in medical research to identify predictors of adverse events and develop systems for clinical decision support. In order to leverage large amounts of patient data, efficient optimisation routines are paramount. We propose an efficient training algorithm for the kernel survival support vector machine (SSVM). We directly optimise the primal objective function% (without simplifying it) and employ truncated Newton optimisation and order statistic trees to significantly lower computational costs compared to previous training algorithms, which require $O(n^4)$ space and $O(p n^6)$ time for datasets with $n$ samples and $p$ features. Our results demonstrate that our proposed optimisation scheme allows analysing data of a much larger scale with no loss in prediction performance. Experiments on synthetic and 5 real-world datasets show that our technique outperforms existing kernel SSVM formulations if the amount of right censoring is high ($≥85%$), and performs comparably otherwise.
3rd Workshop on Machine Learning in Life Sciences
Sebastian Pölsterl
AI Researcher

My research interests include machine learning for time-to-event analysis, causal inference and biomedical applications.