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Causal Discovery in Probabilistic Networks with an Identifiable Causal Effect

by   Sina Akbari, et al.

Causal identification is at the core of the causal inference literature, where complete algorithms have been proposed to identify causal queries of interest. The validity of these algorithms hinges on the restrictive assumption of having access to a correctly specified causal structure. In this work, we study the setting where a probabilistic model of the causal structure is available. Specifically, the edges in a causal graph are assigned probabilities which may, for example, represent degree of belief from domain experts. Alternatively, the uncertainly about an edge may reflect the confidence of a particular statistical test. The question that naturally arises in this setting is: Given such a probabilistic graph and a specific causal effect of interest, what is the subgraph which has the highest plausibility and for which the causal effect is identifiable? We show that answering this question reduces to solving an NP-hard combinatorial optimization problem which we call the edge ID problem. We propose efficient algorithms to approximate this problem, and evaluate our proposed algorithms against real-world networks and randomly generated graphs.


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