The main goal of this project was to define and evaluate a new unsupervised deep learning approach that can differentiate between normal and anomalous intervals of signals like the electrical activity of the heart (ECG). Denoising autoencoders based on recurrent neural networks with gated recurrent units were used for the semantic encoding of such time frames. A subsequent cluster analysis conducted in the code space served as the decision mechanism labelling samples as anomalies or normal intervals, respectively. The cluster ensemble method called cluster-based similarity partitioning proved itself well suited for this task when used in combination with density-based spatial clustering of applications with noise. The best performing system reached an adjusted Rand index of 0.11 on real-world ECG signals labelled by medical experts. This corresponds to a precision and recall regarding the detection task of around 0.72. The new general approach outperformed several state-of-the-art outlier recognition methods and can be applied to all kinds of (medical) time series data. It can serve as a basis for more specific detectors that work in an unsupervised fashion or that are partially guided by medical experts.
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