# Improving Accuracy and Scalability of the PC Algorithm by Maximizing P-value

A number of attempts have been made to improve accuracy and/or scalability of the PC (Peter and Clark) algorithm, some well known (Buhlmann, et al., 2010; Kalisch and Buhlmann, 2007; 2008; Zhang, 2012, to give some examples). We add here one more tool to the toolbox: the simple observation that if one is forced to choose between a variety of possible conditioning sets for a pair of variables, one should choose the one with the highest p-value. One can use the CPC (Conservative PC, Ramsey et al., 2012) algorithm as a guide to possible sepsets for a pair of variables. However, whereas CPC uses a voting rule to classify colliders versus noncolliders, our proposed algorithm, PC-Max, picks the conditioning set with the highest p-value, so that there are no ambiguities. We combine this with two other optimizations: (a) avoiding bidirected edges in the orientation of colliders, and (b) parallelization. For (b) we borrow ideas from the PC-Stable algorithm (Colombo and Maathuis, 2014). The result is an algorithm that scales quite well both in terms of accuracy and time, with no risk of bidirected edges.

READ FULL TEXT