Learning Causal Structures Based on Markov Equivalence Class

Authors: Yang-Bo He, Zhi Geng, and Xun Liang

Source: Algorithmic Learning Theory, 16th International Conference, ALT 2005, Singapore, October 2005, Proceedings, (Sanjay Jain, Hans Ulrich Simon and Etsuji Tomita, Eds.), Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence 3734, pp. 92 - 106, Springer 2005.

Abstract. Because causal learning from observational data cannot avoid the inherent indistinguishability for causal structures that have the same Markov properties, this paper discusses causal structure learning within a Markov equivalence class. We present that the additional causal information about a given variable and its adjacent variables, such as knowledge from experts or data from randomization experiments, can refine the Markov equivalence class into some smaller constrained equivalent subclasses, and each of which can be represented by a chain graph. Those sequential characterizations of subclasses provide an approach for learning causal structures. According to the approach, an iterative partition of the equivalent class can be made with data from randomization experiments until the exact causal structure is identified.

Keywords: Bayesian networks; Causal structure; Directed acyclic graphs; Constrained essential graph; Randomization experiments.

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