Medical decision analysis with probabilistic graphical models

Tutorial at IJCAI-2019 (Macao, China)


     Francisco Javier Díez, PhD
       Dept. Artificial Intelligence, UNED, Madrid, Spain


Probabilistic graphical models (PGMs), such as Bayesian networks, influence diagrams, and Markov decision processes, have been applied to medicine for several decades now. This tutorial reviews the main models, presents new types of models and algorithms for solving real-work health problems—including temporal reasoning and cost-effectiveness analysis—and discusses the advantages of these methods with respect to those typically used in health economics.

Many software tools have been developed for PGMs. OpenMarkov is an open-source program for PGMs, especially designed for building medical models and performing health decision analysis. Participants are invited to bring their own laptops with this software installed, in order to do some hands-on exercises.


Attendants must install version 0.3.2 of OpenMarkov, which will be availabe a few days before the IJCAI tutorial, and check that it works properly.

We recommend printing the outline and the exercices (on paper) and practicing with OpenMarkov's tutorial before attending the short course.

Additional information

Short bio

F. J. Díez is full professor of artificial intelligence at UNED, the largest Spanish university. In his PhD thesis he built DIAVAL, one of the first Bayesian networks for medicine. He has been principal investigator in several national and international projects and published his work in some the most relevant journals of AI, including Artificial Intelligence and Artificial Intelligence in Medicine, and health decision analysis, such as Medical Decision Making and Pharmacoeconomics. He is the leader of a research group that built OpenMarkov, an open-source tool for PGMs, especially tailored to medicine, which has been used in more than 30 countries. He has been teaching probabilistic graphical models to computer science students for 25 years. He is the director of a modular program that has taught around 2,000 health professionals since 1996.

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