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minerva & minepy: a C engine for the MINE suite and its R, Python and MATLAB wrappers

We present a novel implementation in ANSI C of the MINE family of algorithms for computing maximal information-based measures of dependence between two variables in large datasets. We also provide four interfaces: R (minerva), Python, MATLAB/OCTAVE and C++ wrappers (minepy). For these interfaces, it significantly reduces the large memory requirement of the original Java implementation, supporting the applicability of MINE on large, high-throughput -omics datasets.

The family of Maximal Information-based Nonparametric Exploration (MINE) statistics, including the Maximal Information Coefficient (MIC) measure, was recently introduced in (Reshef et al., 2011), aimed at fast exploration of two-variable relationships in many-dimensional data sets. MINE consists of the algorithms for computing four measures of dependence - MIC, Maximum Asymmetry Score(MAS),Maximum Edge Value (MEV), Minimum Cell Number (MCN) - between two variables, having the generality and equitability property. The MINE suite received appraisal as a real breaktrough in the data mining of complex biological data (Speed, 2011) as well as criticisms (Simon and Tibshirani, 2012; Gorfine et al., 2012). Many groups worldwide have already proposed its use for explorative data analysis in computational biology, from networks interaction dynamics to virus ranking (Weiss et al., 2012; Das et al., 2012; Anderson et al., 2012; Karpinets et al., 2012; Faust and Raes, 2012). However, applicability of MINE.jar on all pairs of features on large datasets is currently limited due to memory requirements and computing time (Miller, 2012). Also, a native parallelization of MINE tasks is needed to speed up typical tasks in functional genomics and metagenomics — for example, as a substitute of Pearson correlation in network studies. Inspired by these considerations, we propose a C implementation of the MINE algorithms, and four interfaces from R (minerva), Python and MATLAB/Octave (minepy).

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