Interaction Measures, Partition Lattices and Kernel Tests for High-Order Interactions

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper


Zhaolu Liu, Robert Peach, Pedro A.M Mediano, Mauricio Barahona


Models that rely solely on pairwise relationships often fail to capture the complete statistical structure of the complex multivariate data found in diverse domains, such as socio-economic, ecological, or biomedical systems. Non-trivial dependencies between groups of more than two variables can play a significant role in the analysis and modelling of such systems, yet extracting such high-order interactions from data remains challenging. Here, we introduce a hierarchy of $d$-order ($d \geq 2$) interaction measures, increasingly inclusive of possible factorisations of the joint probability distribution, and define non-parametric, kernel-based tests to establish systematically the statistical significance of $d$-order interactions. We also establish mathematical links with lattice theory, which elucidate the derivation of the interaction measures and their composite permutation tests; clarify the connection of simplicial complexes with kernel matrix centring; and provide a means to enhance computational efficiency. We illustrate our results numerically with validations on synthetic data, and through an application to neuroimaging data.