NIPS Proceedingsβ

The Noisy-Logical Distribution and its Application to Causal Inference

Part of: Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 20 (NIPS 2007)

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We describe a novel noisy-logical distribution for representing the distribution of a binary output variable conditioned on multiple binary input variables. The distribution is represented in terms of noisy-or's and noisy-and-not's of causal features which are conjunctions of the binary inputs. The standard noisy-or and noisy-and-not models, used in causal reasoning and artificial intelligence, are special cases of the noisy-logical distribution. We prove that the noisy-logical distribution is complete in the sense that it can represent all conditional distributions provided a sufficient number of causal factors are used. We illustrate the noisy-logical distribution by showing that it can account for new experimental findings on how humans perform causal reasoning in more complex contexts. Finally, we speculate on the use of the noisy-logical distribution for causal reasoning and artificial intelligence.