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A non-graphical representation of conditional independence via the neighbourhood lattice

06/12/2022
by   Arash A. Amini, et al.
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We introduce and study the neighbourhood lattice decomposition of a distribution, which is a compact, non-graphical representation of conditional independence that is valid in the absence of a faithful graphical representation. The idea is to view the set of neighbourhoods of a variable as a subset lattice, and partition this lattice into convex sublattices, each of which directly encodes a collection of conditional independence relations. We show that this decomposition exists in any compositional graphoid and can be computed efficiently and consistently in high-dimensions. In particular, this gives a way to encode all of independence relations implied by a distribution that satisfies the composition axiom, which is strictly weaker than the faithfulness assumption that is typically assumed by graphical approaches. We also discuss various special cases such as graphical models and projection lattices, each of which has intuitive interpretations. Along the way, we see how this problem is closely related to neighbourhood regression, which has been extensively studied in the context of graphical models and structural equations.

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