Multiple-shooting adjoint method for whole-brain dynamic causal modeling

Dynamic causal modeling (DCM) is a Bayesian framework to infer directed connections between compartments, and has been used to describe the interactions between underlying neural populations based on functional neuroimaging data. DCM is typically analyzed with the expectation-maximization (EM) algorithm. However, because the inversion of a large-scale continuous system is difficult when noisy observations are present, DCM by EM is typically limited to a small number of compartments ($<10$). Another drawback with the current method is its complexity; when the forward model changes, the posterior mean changes, and we need to re-derive the algorithm for optimization. In this project, we propose the Multiple-Shooting Adjoint (MSA) method to address these limitations. MSA uses the multiple-shooting method for parameter estimation in ordinary differential equations (ODEs) under noisy observations, and is suitable for large-scale systems such as whole-brain analysis in functional MRI (fMRI). Furthermore, MSA uses the adjoint method for accurate gradient estimation in the ODE; since the adjoint method is generic, MSA is a generic method for both linear and non-linear systems, and does not require re-derivation of the algorithm as in EM. We validate MSA in extensive experiments: 1) in toy examples with both linear and non-linear models, we show that MSA achieves better accuracy in parameter value estimation than EM; furthermore, MSA can be successfully applied to large systems with up to 100 compartments; and 2) using real fMRI data, we apply MSA to the estimation of the whole-brain effective connectome and show improved classification of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) vs. control compared to using the functional connectome. The package is provided \url{}

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