3 years ago

Heuristic algorithms for the Maximum Colorful Subtree problem.

W. Timothy J. White, Sebastian Böcker, Kai Dührkop, Marie Anne Lataretu

In metabolomics, small molecules are structurally elucidated using tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS); this resulted in the computational Maximum Colorful Subtree problem, which is NP-hard. Unfortunately, data from a single metabolite requires us to solve hundreds or thousands of instances of this problem; and in a single Liquid Chromatography MS/MS run, hundreds or thousands of metabolites are measured.

Here, we comprehensively evaluate the performance of several heuristic algorithms for the problem against an exact algorithm. We put particular emphasis on whether a heuristic is able to rank candidates such that the correct solution is ranked highly. We propose this "intermediate" evaluation because evaluating the approximating quality of heuristics is misleading: Even a slightly suboptimal solution can be structurally very different from the true solution. On the other hand, we cannot structurally evaluate against the ground truth, as this is unknown. We find that particularly one of the heuristics consistently ranks the correct solution in a favorable position. Integrating the heuristic into the analysis pipeline results in a speedup of 10-fold or more, without sacrificing accuracy.

Publisher URL: http://arxiv.org/abs/1801.07456

DOI: arXiv:1801.07456v2

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