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A simple iterative approach to parameter optimization


Zien,  A
Department Empirical Inference, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Zien, A., Zimmer, R., & Lengauer, T. (2000). A simple iterative approach to parameter optimization. Proceedings of the Forth Annual Conference on Research in Computational Molecular Biology (RECOMB2000), 318-327.

Various bioinformatics problems require optimizing several different properties simultaneously. For example, in the protein threading problem, a linear scoring function combines the values for different properties of possible sequence-to-structure alignments into a single score to allow for unambigous optimization. In this context, an essential question is how each property should be weighted. As the native structures are known for some sequences, the implied partial ordering on optimal alignments may be used to adjust the weights. To resolve the arising interdependence of weights and computed solutions, we propose a novel approach: iterating the computation of solutions (here: threading alignments) given the weights and the estimation of optimal weights of the scoring function given these solutions via a systematic calibration method. We show that this procedure converges to structurally meaningful weights, that also lead to significantly improved performance on comprehensive test data sets as measured in different ways. The latter indicates that the performance of threading can be improved in general.