Causal structure-based root cause analysis of outliers

Kailash Budhathoki · Lenon Minorics · Patrick Bloebaum · Dominik Janzing

Hall E #606

Keywords: [ MISC: Causality ]


Current techniques for explaining outliers cannot tell what caused the outliers. We present a formal method to identify "root causes" of outliers, amongst variables. The method requires a causal graph of the variables along with the functional causal model. It quantifies the contribution of each variable to the target outlier score, which explains to what extent each variable is a "root cause" of the target outlier. We study the empirical performance of the method through simulations and present a real-world case study identifying "root causes" of extreme river flows.

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