PASCAL - Pattern Analysis, Statistical Modelling and Computational Learning

Causal Reasoning by Evaluating the Complexity of Conditional Densities with Kernel Methods
X. Sun, D. Janzing and B. Schölkopf
Neurocomputing Volume 71, Number 7-9, pp. 1248-1256, 2008.


We propose a method to quantify the complexity of conditional probability measures by a Hilbert space seminorm of the logarithm of its density. The concept of reproducing kernel Hilbert spaces (RKHSs) is a flexible tool to define such a seminorm by choosing an appropriate kernel. We present several examples with artificial data sets where our kernel-based complexity measure is consistent with our intuitive understanding of complexity of densities. The intention behind the complexity measure is to provide a new approach to inferring causal directions. The idea is that the factorization of the joint probability measure P(effect, cause) into P(effect|cause)P(cause) leads typically to "simpler" and "smoother" terms than the factorization into P(cause|effect)P(effect). Since the conventional constraint-based approach of causal discovery is not able to determine the causal direction between only two variables, our inference principle can in particular be useful when combined with other existing methods. We provide several simple examples with real-world data where the true causal directions indeed lead to simpler (conditional) densities

PDF - Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader or other PDF viewer.
EPrint Type:Article
Project Keyword:Project Keyword UNSPECIFIED
Subjects:Computational, Information-Theoretic Learning with Statistics
Learning/Statistics & Optimisation
Brain Computer Interfaces
Theory & Algorithms
ID Code:4330
Deposited By:Bernhard Schölkopf
Deposited On:13 March 2009