Ten Quick Tips for Deep Learning in Biology

05/29/2021
by   Benjamin D. Lee, et al.
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Machine learning is a modern approach to problem-solving and task automation. In particular, machine learning is concerned with the development and applications of algorithms that can recognize patterns in data and use them for predictive modeling. Artificial neural networks are a particular class of machine learning algorithms and models that evolved into what is now described as deep learning. Given the computational advances made in the last decade, deep learning can now be applied to massive data sets and in innumerable contexts. Therefore, deep learning has become its own subfield of machine learning. In the context of biological research, it has been increasingly used to derive novel insights from high-dimensional biological data. To make the biological applications of deep learning more accessible to scientists who have some experience with machine learning, we solicited input from a community of researchers with varied biological and deep learning interests. These individuals collaboratively contributed to this manuscript's writing using the GitHub version control platform and the Manubot manuscript generation toolset. The goal was to articulate a practical, accessible, and concise set of guidelines and suggestions to follow when using deep learning. In the course of our discussions, several themes became clear: the importance of understanding and applying machine learning fundamentals as a baseline for utilizing deep learning, the necessity for extensive model comparisons with careful evaluation, and the need for critical thought in interpreting results generated by deep learning, among others.

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