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Causal inference using the algorithmic Markov condition
, 2008
"... Inferring the causal structure that links n observables is usually basedupon detecting statistical dependences and choosing simple graphs that make the joint measure Markovian. Here we argue why causal inference is also possible when only single observations are present. We develop a theory how to g ..."
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Cited by 11 (11 self)
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Inferring the causal structure that links n observables is usually basedupon detecting statistical dependences and choosing simple graphs that make the joint measure Markovian. Here we argue why causal inference is also possible when only single observations are present. We develop a theory how to generate causal graphs explaining similarities between single objects. To this end, we replace the notion of conditional stochastic independence in the causal Markov condition with the vanishing of conditional algorithmic mutual information anddescribe the corresponding causal inference rules. We explain why a consistent reformulation of causal inference in terms of algorithmic complexity implies a new inference principle that takes into account also the complexity of conditional probability densities, making it possible to select among Markov equivalent causal graphs. This insight provides a theoretical foundation of a heuristic principle proposed in earlier work. We also discuss how to replace Kolmogorov complexity with decidable complexity criteria. This can be seen as an algorithmic analog of replacing the empirically undecidable question of statistical independence with practical independence tests that are based on implicit or explicit assumptions on the underlying distribution. email:
On causally asymmetric versions of Occam’s Razor and their relation to thermodynamics
, 2007
"... and their relation to thermodynamics ..."
1 Causal Inference on Discrete Data using Additive Noise Models
"... Abstract — Inferring the causal structure of a set of random variables from a finite sample of the joint distribution is an important problem in science. The case of two random variables is particularly challenging since no (conditional) independences can be exploited. Recent methods that are based ..."
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Abstract — Inferring the causal structure of a set of random variables from a finite sample of the joint distribution is an important problem in science. The case of two random variables is particularly challenging since no (conditional) independences can be exploited. Recent methods that are based on additive noise models suggest the following principle: Whenever the joint distribution P (X,Y) admits such a model in one direction, e.g. Y = f(X)+N, N ⊥ X, but does not admit the reversed model X = g(Y)+ Ñ, Ñ ⊥ Y, one infers the former direction to be causal (i.e. X → Y). Up to now these approaches only deal with continuous variables. In many situations, however, the variables of interest are discrete or even have only finitely many states. In this work we extend the notion of additive noise models to these cases. We prove that it almost never occurs that additive noise models can be fit in both directions. We further propose an efficient algorithm that is able to perform this way of causal inference on finite samples of discrete variables. We show that the algorithm works both on synthetic and real data sets.