Bornelöv S, Marillet S, Komorowski J
BMC Bioinformatics 15 (-) 139 [2014-05-12; online 2014-05-12]
The use of classification algorithms is becoming increasingly important for the field of computational biology. However, not only the quality of the classification, but also its biological interpretation is important. This interpretation may be eased if interacting elements can be identified and visualized, something that requires appropriate tools and methods. We developed a new approach to detecting interactions in complex systems based on classification. Using rule-based classifiers, we previously proposed a rule network visualization strategy that may be applied as a heuristic for finding interactions. We now complement this work with Ciruvis, a web-based tool for the construction of rule networks from classifiers made of IF-THEN rules. Simulated and biological data served as an illustration of how the tool may be used to visualize and interpret classifiers. Furthermore, we used the rule networks to identify feature interactions, compared them to alternative methods, and computationally validated the findings. Rule networks enable a fast method for model visualization and provide an exploratory heuristic to interaction detection. The tool is made freely available on the web and may thus be used to aid and improve rule-based classification.