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  • Research Papers

Domain Knowledge in A*-Based Causal Discovery

18 August 2022, 14:38 GMT

Causal discovery has become a vital tool for scientists and practitioners wanting to discover causal relationships from observational data. While most previous approaches to causal discovery have implicitly assumed that no expert domain knowledge is available, practitioners can often provide such domain knowledge from prior experience. Recent work has incorporated domain knowledge into constraint-based causal discovery. The majority of such constraint-based methods, however, assume causal faithfulness, which has been shown to be frequently violated in practice. Consequently, there has been renewed attention towards exact-search score-based causal discovery methods, which do not assume causal faithfulness, such as A*-based methods. However, there has been no consideration of these methods in the context of domain knowledge.

In this work, we focus on efficiently integrating several types of domain knowledge into A*-based causal discovery. In doing so, we discuss and explain how domain knowledge can reduce the graph search space and then provide an analysis of the potential computational gains. We support these findings with experiments on synthetic and real data, showing that even small amounts of domain knowledge can dramatically speed up A*-based causal discovery and improve its performance and practicality.

The research, carried out by causaLens’ own Steven Kleinegesse, Andrew R. Lawrence, and Hana Chockler, to bridge the gap between theoretical approaches and the needs of applied data scientists.

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