Streamlined Empirical Bayes Fitting of Linear Mixed Models in Mobile Health

by   Marianne Menictas, et al.

To effect behavior change a successful algorithm must make high-quality decisions in real-time. For example, a mobile health (mHealth) application designed to increase physical activity must make contextually relevant suggestions to motivate users. While machine learning offers solutions for certain stylized settings, such as when batch data can be processed offline, there is a dearth of approaches which can deliver high-quality solutions under the specific constraints of mHealth. We propose an algorithm which provides users with contextualized and personalized physical activity suggestions. This algorithm is able to overcome a challenge critical to mHealth that complex models be trained efficiently. We propose a tractable streamlined empirical Bayes procedure which fits linear mixed effects models in large-data settings. Our procedure takes advantage of sparsity introduced by hierarchical random effects to efficiently learn the posterior distribution of a linear mixed effects model. A key contribution of this work is that we provide explicit updates in order to learn both fixed effects, random effects and hyper-parameter values. We demonstrate the success of this approach in a mobile health (mHealth) reinforcement learning application, a domain in which fast computations are crucial for real time interventions. Not only is our approach computationally efficient, it is also easily implemented with closed form matrix algebraic updates and we show improvements over state of the art approaches both in speed and accuracy of up to 99


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