Multi-domain Causal Structure Learning in Linear Systems

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 31 (NeurIPS 2018)

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AmirEmad Ghassami, Negar Kiyavash, Biwei Huang, Kun Zhang


We study the problem of causal structure learning in linear systems from observational data given in multiple domains, across which the causal coefficients and/or the distribution of the exogenous noises may vary. The main tool used in our approach is the principle that in a causally sufficient system, the causal modules, as well as their included parameters, change independently across domains. We first introduce our approach for finding causal direction in a system comprising two variables and propose efficient methods for identifying causal direction. Then we generalize our methods to causal structure learning in networks of variables. Most of previous work in structure learning from multi-domain data assume that certain types of invariance are held in causal modules across domains. Our approach unifies the idea in those works and generalizes to the case that there is no such invariance across the domains. Our proposed methods are generally capable of identifying causal direction from fewer than ten domains. When the invariance property holds, two domains are generally sufficient.