Testing edges by truncations

Ilya Shpitser, Thomas S. Richardson, James M. Robins

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

5 Scopus citations


We consider the problem of testing whether two variables should be adjacent (either due to a direct effect between them, or due to a hidden common cause) given an observational distribution, and a set of causal assumptions encoded as a causal diagram. In other words, given a set of edges in the diagram known to be true, we are interested in testing whether another edge ought to be in the diagram. In fully observable faithful models this problem can be easily solved with conditional independence tests. Latent variables make the problem significantly harder since they can imply certain non-adjacent variable pairs, namely those connected by so called inducing paths, are not independent conditioned on any set of variables. We characterizewhich variable pairs can be determined to be non-adjacent by a class of constraints due to dormant independence, that is conditional independence in identifiable interventional distributions. Furthermore, we show that particular operations on joint distributions, which we call truncations are sufficient for exhibiting these non-adjacencies.This suggests a causal discovery procedure taking advantage of these constraints in the latent variable case can restrict itself to truncations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationIJCAI-09 - Proceedings of the 21st International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence
PublisherInternational Joint Conferences on Artificial Intelligence
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)9781577354260
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009
Event21st International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence, IJCAI 2009 - Pasadena, United States
Duration: Jul 11 2009Jul 16 2009

Publication series

NameIJCAI International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence
ISSN (Print)1045-0823


Conference21st International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence, IJCAI 2009
Country/TerritoryUnited States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence


Dive into the research topics of 'Testing edges by truncations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this