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Characterizing and Learning Equivalence Classes of Causal DAGs under Interventions
Karren Yang · Abigail Katoff · Caroline Uhler

Fri Jul 13 09:15 AM -- 12:00 PM (PDT) @ Hall B #97

We consider the problem of learning causal DAGs in the setting where both observational and interventional data is available. This setting is common in biology, where gene regulatory networks can be intervened on using chemical reagents or gene deletions. Hauser & Buhlmann (2012) previously characterized the identifiability of causal DAGs under perfect interventions, which eliminate dependencies between targeted variables and their direct causes. In this paper, we extend these identifiability results to general interventions, which may modify the dependencies between targeted variables and their causes without eliminating them. We define and characterize the interventional Markov equivalence class that can be identified from general (not necessarily perfect) intervention experiments. We also propose the first provably consistent algorithm for learning DAGs in this setting and evaluate our algorithm on simulated and biological datasets.

Author Information

Karren Yang (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Abigail Katoff (MIT)
Caroline Uhler (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Caroline Uhler joined the MIT faculty in 2015 as the Henry L. and Grace Doherty assistant professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society. She holds an MSc in mathematics, a BSc in biology, and an MEd in high school mathematics education from the University of Zurich. She obtained her PhD in statistics, with a designated emphasis in computational and genomic biology, from the University of California, Berkeley. Before joining MIT, she spent a semester as a research fellow in the program on Theoretical Foundations of Big Data Analysis at the Simons Institute at UC Berkeley, postdoctoral positions at the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications at the University of Minnesota and at ETH Zurich, and 3 years as an assistant professor at IST Austria. She is an elected member of the International Statistical Institute, a Sloan Research Fellow, and she received an NSF Career Award, a Sofja Kovalevskaja Award from the Humboldt Foundation and a START Award from the Austrian Science Foundation. Her research focuses on mathematical statistics and computational biology, in particular on graphical models and causal inference.

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