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Causal Geometry

10/19/2020
by   Pavel Chvykov, et al.
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Information geometry has offered a way to formally study the efficacy of scientific models by quantifying the impact of model parameters on the predicted effects. However, there has been little formal investigation of causation in this framework, despite causal models being a fundamental part of science and explanation. Here we introduce causal geometry, which formalizes not only how outcomes are impacted by parameters, but also how the parameters of a model can be intervened upon. Therefore we introduce a geometric version of "effective information"—a known measure of the informativeness of a causal relationship. We show that it is given by the matching between the space of effects and the space of interventions, in the form of their geometric congruence. Therefore, given a fixed intervention capability, an effective causal model is one that matches those interventions. This is a consequence of "causal emergence," wherein macroscopic causal relationships may carry more information than "fundamental" microscopic ones. We thus argue that a coarse-grained model may, paradoxically, be more informative than the microscopic one, especially when it better matches the scale of accessible interventions—as we illustrate on toy examples.

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