Causally Regularized Learning with Agnostic Data Selection Bias Machine Learning

Most of previous machine learning algorithms are proposed based on the i.i.d. hypothesis. However, this ideal assumption is often violated in real applications, where selection bias may arise between training and testing process. Moreover, in many scenarios, the testing data is not even available during the training process, which makes the traditional methods like transfer learning infeasible due to their need on prior of test distribution. Therefore, how to address the agnostic selection bias for robust model learning is of paramount importance for both academic research and real applications. In this paper, under the assumption that causal relationships among variables are robust across domains, we incorporate causal technique into predictive modeling and propose a novel Causally Regularized Logistic Regression (CRLR) algorithm by jointly optimize global confounder balancing and weighted logistic regression. Global confounder balancing helps to identify causal features, whose causal effect on outcome are stable across domains, then performing logistic regression on those causal features constructs a robust predictive model against the agnostic bias. To validate the effectiveness of our CRLR algorithm, we conduct comprehensive experiments on both synthetic and real world datasets. Experimental results clearly demonstrate that our CRLR algorithm outperforms the state-of-the-art methods, and the interpretability of our method can be fully depicted by the feature visualization.

Commonsense Causal Reasoning between Short Texts

AAAI Conferences

Commonsense causal reasoning is the process of capturing and understanding the causal dependencies amongst events and actions. Such events and actions can be expressed in terms, phrases or sentences in natural language text. Therefore, one possible way of obtaining causal knowledge is by extracting causal relations between terms or phrases from a large text corpus. However, causal relations in text are sparse, ambiguous, and sometimes implicit, and thus difficult to obtain. This paper attacks the problem of commonsense causality reasoning between short texts (phrases and sentences) using a data driven approach. We propose a framework that automatically harvests a network of causal-effect terms from a large web corpus. Backed by this network, we propose a novel and effective metric to properly model the causality strength between terms. We show these signals can be aggregated for causality reasonings between short texts, including sentences and phrases. In particular, our approach outperforms all previously reported results in the standard SEMEVAL COPA task by substantial margins.

Discovering Causal Relations by Experimentation: Causal Trees

AAAI Conferences

Generally, the less background knowledge needed, the better; the robot should be able to start 92 MAICS-97 out with the "mind of an infant" and learn everything it needs.

Causality on Longitudinal Data: Stable Specification Search in Constrained Structural Equation Modeling Artificial Intelligence

A typical problem in causal modeling is the instability of model structure learning, i.e., small changes in finite data can result in completely different optimal models. The present work introduces a novel causal modeling algorithm for longitudinal data, that is robust for finite samples based on recent advances in stability selection using subsampling and selection algorithms. Our approach uses exploratory search but allows incorporation of prior knowledge, e.g., the absence of a particular causal relationship between two specific variables. We represent causal relationships using structural equation models. Models are scored along two objectives: the model fit and the model complexity. Since both objectives are often conflicting we apply a multi-objective evolutionary algorithm to search for Pareto optimal models. To handle the instability of small finite data samples, we repeatedly subsample the data and select those substructures (from the optimal models) that are both stable and parsimonious. These substructures can be visualized through a causal graph. Our more exploratory approach achieves at least comparable performance as, but often a significant improvement over state-of-the-art alternative approaches on a simulated data set with a known ground truth. We also present the results of our method on three real-world longitudinal data sets on chronic fatigue syndrome, Alzheimer disease, and chronic kidney disease. The findings obtained with our approach are generally in line with results from more hypothesis-driven analyses in earlier studies and suggest some novel relationships that deserve further research.

Causal Transportability with Limited Experiments

AAAI Conferences

We address the problem of transferring causal knowledge learned in one environment to another, potentially different environment, when only limited experiments may be conducted at the source. This generalizes the treatment of transportability introduced in [Pearl and Bareinboim, 2011; Bareinboim and Pearl, 2012b], which deals with transferring causal information when any experiment can be conducted at the source. Given that it is not always feasible to conduct certain controlled experiments, we consider the decision problem whether experiments on a selected subset Z of variables together with qualitative assumptions encoded in a diagram may render causal effects in the target environment computable from the available data. This problem, which we call z-transportability, reduces to ordinary transportability when Z is all-inclusive, and, like the latter, can be given syntactic characterization using the do-calculus [Pearl, 1995; 2000]. This paper establishes a necessary and sufficient condition for causal effects in the target domain to be estimable from both the non-experimental information available and the limited experimental information transferred from the source. We further provides a complete algorithm for computing the transport formula, that is, a way of fusing experimental and observational information to synthesize an unbiased estimate of the desired causal relation.