Discovering contemporaneous and lagged causal relations in autocorrelated nonlinear time series datasets

03/07/2020 ∙ by Jakob Runge, et al. ∙ 0

We consider causal discovery from time series using conditional independence (CI) based network learning algorithms such as the PC algorithm. The PC algorithm is divided into a skeleton phase where adjacencies are determined based on efficiently selected CI tests and subsequent phases where links are oriented utilizing the Markov and Faithfulness assumptions. Here we show that autocorrelation makes the PC algorithm much less reliable with very low adjacency and orientation detection rates and inflated false positives. We propose a new algorithm, called PCMCI^+ that extends the PCMCI method from [Runge et al., 2019b] to also include discovery of contemporaneous links. It separates the skeleton phase for lagged and contemporaneous conditioning sets and modifies the conditioning sets for the individual CI tests. We show that this algorithm now benefits from increasing autocorrelation and yields much more adjacency detection power and especially more orientation recall for contemporaneous links while controlling false positives and having much shorter runtimes. Numerical experiments indicate that the algorithm can be of considerable use in many application scenarios for dozens of variables and large time delays.

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