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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is miniTUBA?

miniTUBA stands for the Medical Inference by Network Integration of Temporal Data using Bayesian Analysis. It is a web-based dynamic Bayesian network analysis system used to simulate biomedical networks using temporal data. The results from these analyses can then be utilized to identify causal or potentially causal relationships between data elements. The DBN analysis pipeline developed by miniTUBA is widely applicable and can be useful for generating networks using not only clinically-relevant data.

2. Why do we need dynamic Bayesian network analysis?

Dynamic Bayesian networks (DBN) represent a powerful probabilistic modeling method for identifying causal or apparently causal patterns in temporal clinical and biomedical research data. Using Dynamic Bayesian networks, an investigator can identify both sets of significantly regulated parameters (clinical and/or molecular), and also the interrelationships between these variables. This approach is particularly useful when there are a large number of variables and their interactions are complicated. A key advantage of Bayesian networks for identifying apparently causal relationships between multiple variables is that Bayesian networks are relatively agnostic to the complexity of the relationships predicted. For example, a Bayesian network can model linear, nonlinear, or more complicated multi-state relationships equally well. Additionally, Bayesian networks are able to create chains of causation, suggesting a sequence of events required to produce a particular outcome. Such chains of causation are difficult to extract using other machine learning techniques.

In addition, by modifying the structural priors (e.g. forcing or forbidding certain connections) a Dynamic Bayesian network can also include expert knowledge to constrain the results.

3. Who are primary miniTUBA users?

Bioinformaticians, biomedical researchers, and clinicians. In addition, the DBNs developed by miniTUBA are widely applicable, even useful well beyond just biological data.

4. Do I need to register and log in to use MINITUBA?

You don't need to log in to browse the general miniTUBA information. However, you are required to log in to submit your data and to use the Bayesian data analysis tools available in miniTUBA. Registration and login is free.

5. What is the Sandbox Demo?

Sandbox Demo allows you to login without registration and test all the features in miniTUBA system using a demo account. Since every one have access to this site, you may not want to use your own research data here.

6. What is the limitation of the demo account?

Please be advised that with the demo account, a user can only use up to 10 minutes of computation time and up to two computer servers in our multi-server system.


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