Structure Learning with Adaptive Random Neighborhood Informed MCMC

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

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Xitong Liang, Alberto Caron, Samuel Livingstone, Jim Griffin


In this paper, we introduce a novel MCMC sampler, PARNI-DAG, for a fully-Bayesian approach to the problem of structure learning under observational data. Under the assumption of causal sufficiency, the algorithm allows for approximate sampling directly from the posterior distribution on Directed Acyclic Graphs (DAGs). PARNI-DAG performs efficient sampling of DAGs via locally informed, adaptive random neighborhood proposal that results in better mixing properties. In addition, to ensure better scalability with the number of nodes, we couple PARNI-DAG with a pre-tuning procedure of the sampler's parameters that exploits a skeleton graph derived through some constraint-based or scoring-based algorithms. Thanks to these novel features, PARNI-DAG quickly converges to high-probability regions and is less likely to get stuck in local modes in the presence of high correlation between nodes in high-dimensional settings. After introducing the technical novelties in PARNI-DAG, we empirically demonstrate its mixing efficiency and accuracy in learning DAG structures on a variety of experiments.