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Causal Bounds in Quasi-Markovian Graphs

Madhumitha Shridharan · Garud Iyengar

Exhibit Hall 1 #645
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We consider the problem of computing bounds for causal queries on quasi-Markovian graphs with unobserved confounders and discrete valued observed variables, where identifiability does not hold. Existing non-parametric approaches for computing such bounds use multilinear programming (MP) formulations that are often intractable for existing solvers when the degree of the polynomial objective is greater than two. Hence, one often has to resort to either fast approximate heuristics which are not guaranteed to contain the true query value, or more accurate but computationally intensive procedures. We show how to construct an equivalent MP with a polynomial objective of lower degree. In particular, the degree of the objective in the new MP is equal to only the number of C-components that are intervened upon, instead of the total number of C-components. As a result, we can compute exact bounds for significantly larger causal inference problems as compared to what is possible using existing techniques. We also propose a very efficient Frank-Wolfe heuristic that produces very high quality bounds, and scales to large multilinear problems of higher degree.

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