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Person# Seyed Jalal Etesami

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Seyed Jalal Etesami, Negar Kiyavash, Kun Zhang

Measuring conditional dependencies among the variables of a network is of great interest to many disciplines. This paper studies some shortcomings of the existing dependency measures in detecting direct causal influences or their lack of ability for group selection to capture strong dependencies and accordingly introduces a new statistical dependency measure to overcome them. This measure is inspired by Dobrushin’s coefficients and based on the fact that there is no dependency between X and Y given another variable Z, if and only if the conditional distribution of Y given 𝑋=𝑥 and 𝑍=𝑧 does not change when X takes another realization 𝑥′ while Z takes the same realization z. We show the advantages of this measure over the related measures in the literature. Moreover, we establish the connection between our measure and the integral probability metric (IPM) that helps to develop estimators of the measure with lower complexity compared to other relevant information theoretic-based measures. Finally, we show the performance of this measure through numerical simulations.

2022Sina Akbari, Seyed Jalal Etesami, Fateme Jamshidi, Negar Kiyavash, Ehsan Mokhtarian

Causal identification is at the core of the causal inference literature, where complete algorithms have been proposed to identify causal queries of interest. The validity of these algorithms hinges on the restrictive assumption of having access to a correctly specified causal structure. In this work, we study the setting where a probabilistic model of the causal structure is available. Specifically, the edges in a causal graph are assigned probabilities which may, for example, represent degree of belief from domain experts. Alternatively, the uncertainly about an edge may reflect the confidence of a particular statistical test. The question that naturally arises in this setting is: Given such a probabilistic graph and a specific causal effect of interest, what is the subgraph which has the highest plausibility and for which the causal effect is identifiable? We show that answering this question reduces to solving an NP-hard combinatorial optimization problem which we call the edge ID problem. We propose efficient algorithms to approximate this problem, and evaluate our proposed algorithms against real-world networks and randomly generated graphs. 27 pages, 9 figures, NeurIPS conference, causal identification, causal discovery, probabilistic models

2022Sina Akbari, Seyed Jalal Etesami, Negar Kiyavash

Pearl's do calculus is a complete axiomatic approach to learn the identifiable causal effects from observational data. When such an effect is not identifiable, it is necessary to perform a collection of often costly interventions in the system to learn the causal effect. In this work, we consider the problem of designing the collection of interventions with the minimum cost to identify the desired effect. First, we prove that this problem is NP-hard, and subsequently propose an algorithm that can either find the optimal solution or a logarithmic-factor approximation of it. This is done by establishing a connection between our problem and the minimum hitting set problem. Additionally, we propose several polynomial-time heuristic algorithms to tackle the computational complexity of the problem. Although these algorithms could potentially stumble on sub-optimal solutions, our simulations show that they achieve small regrets on random graphs. 32 pages, 10 figures, ICML2022