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Person# Ehsan Mokhtarian

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Sina 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

2022Negar Kiyavash, Ehsan Mokhtarian, Saber Salehkaleybar

We study experiment design for unique identification of the causal graph of a system where the graph may contain cycles. The presence of cycles in the structure introduces major challenges for experiment design as, unlike acyclic graphs, learning the skeleton of causal graphs with cycles may not be possible from merely the observational distribution. Furthermore, intervening on a variable in such graphs does not necessarily lead to orienting all the edges incident to it. In this paper, we propose an experiment design approach that can learn both cyclic and acyclic graphs and hence, unifies the task of experiment design for both types of graphs. We provide a lower bound on the number of experiments required to guarantee the unique identification of the causal graph in the worst case, showing that the proposed approach is order-optimal in terms of the number of experiments up to an additive logarithmic term. Moreover, we extend our result to the setting where the size of each experiment is bounded by a constant. For this case, we show that our approach is optimal in terms of the size of the largest experiment required for uniquely identifying the causal graph in the worst case.

2022Seyed Jalal Etesami, Yaroslav Kivva, Negar Kiyavash, Ehsan Mokhtarian

We revisit the problem of general identifiability originally introduced in [Lee et al., 2019] for causal inference and note that it is necessary to add positivity assumption of observational distribution to the original definition of the problem. We show that without such an assumption the rules of do-calculus and consequently the proposed algorithm in [Lee et al., 2019] are not sound. Moreover, adding the assumption will cause the completeness proof in [Lee et al., 2019] to fail. Under positivity assumption, we present a new algorithm that is provably both sound and complete. A nice property of this new algorithm is that it establishes a connection between general identifiability and classical identifiability by Pearl [1995] through decomposing the general identifiability problem into a series of classical identifiability sub-problems.

2022