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Automatic Generation of Algorithms for the Statistical Analysis of Planetary Nebulae ImagesAnalyzing data sets collected in experiments or by observations is a Core scientific activity. Typically, experimentd and observational data are &aught with uncertainty, and the analysis is based on a statistical model of the conjectured underlying processes, The large data volumes collected by modern instruments make computer support indispensible for this. Consequently, scientists spend significant amounts of their time with the development and refinement of the data analysis programs. AutoBayes [GF+02, FS03] is a fully automatic synthesis system for generating statistical data analysis programs. Externally, it looks like a compiler: it takes an abstract problem specification and translates it into executable code. Its input is a concise description of a data analysis problem in the form of a statistical model as shown in Figure 1; its output is optimized and fully documented C/C++ code which can be linked dynamically into the Matlab and Octave environments. Internally, however, it is quite different: AutoBayes derives a customized algorithm implementing the given model using a schema-based process, and then further refines and optimizes the algorithm into code. A schema is a parameterized code template with associated semantic constraints which define and restrict the template s applicability. The schema parameters are instantiated in a problem-specific way during synthesis as AutoBayes checks the constraints against the original model or, recursively, against emerging sub-problems. AutoBayes schema library contains problem decomposition operators (which are justified by theorems in a formal logic in the domain of Bayesian networks) as well as machine learning algorithms (e.g., EM, k-Means) and nu- meric optimization methods (e.g., Nelder-Mead simplex, conjugate gradient). AutoBayes augments this schema-based approach by symbolic computation to derive closed-form solutions whenever possible. This is a major advantage over other statistical data analysis systems which use numerical approximations even in cases where closed-form solutions exist. AutoBayes is implemented in Prolog and comprises approximately 75.000 lines of code. In this paper, we take one typical scientific data analysis problem-analyzing planetary nebulae images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope-and show how AutoBayes can be used to automate the implementation of the necessary anal- ysis programs. We initially follow the analysis described by Knuth and Hajian [KHO2] and use AutoBayes to derive code for the published models. We show the details of the code derivation process, including the symbolic computations and automatic integration of library procedures, and compare the results of the automatically generated and manually implemented code. We then go beyond the original analysis and use AutoBayes to derive code for a simple image segmentation procedure based on a mixture model which can be used to automate a manual preproceesing step. Finally, we combine the original approach with the simple segmentation which yields a more detailed analysis. This also demonstrates that AutoBayes makes it easy to combine different aspects of data analysis.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Ames Research Center
Document Type
Fischer, Bernd
(Research Inst. for Advanced Computer Science Moffett Field, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2004
Subject Category
Statistics And Probability
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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