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Entropic Causal Inference: Graph Identifiability

Spencer Compton · Kristjan Greenewald · Dmitriy Katz · Murat Kocaoglu

Hall E #633

Keywords: [ MISC: Causality ]


Entropic causal inference is a recent framework for learning the causal graph between two variables from observational data by finding the information-theoretically simplest structural explanation of the data, i.e., the model with smallest entropy. In our work, we first extend the causal graph identifiability result in the two-variable setting under relaxed assumptions. We then show the first identifiability result using the entropic approach for learning causal graphs with more than two nodes. Our approach utilizes the property that ancestrality between a source node and its descendants can be determined using the bivariate entropic tests. We provide a sound sequential peeling algorithm for general graphs that relies on this property. We also propose a heuristic algorithm for small graphs that shows strong empirical performance. We rigorously evaluate the performance of our algorithms on synthetic data generated from a variety of models, observing improvement over prior work. Finally we test our algorithms on real-world datasets.

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