Causal Discovery from Subsampled Time Series Data by Constraint Optimization

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Antti Hyttinen, Sergey Plis, Matti Järvisalo, Frederick Eberhardt, David Danks ;
Proceedings of the Eighth International Conference on Probabilistic Graphical Models, PMLR 52:216-227, 2016.

Abstract

This paper focuses on causal structure estimation from time series data in which measurements are obtained at a coarser timescale than the causal timescale of the underlying system. Previous work has shown that such subsampling can lead to significant errors about the system’s causal structure if not properly taken into account. In this paper, we first consider the search for the system timescale causal structures that correspond to a given measurement timescale structure. We provide a constraint satisfaction procedure whose computational performance is several orders of magnitude better than previous approaches. We then consider finite-sample data as input, and propose the first constraint optimization approach for recovering the system timescale causal structure. This algorithm optimally recovers from possible conflicts due to statistical errors. More generally, these advances allow for a robust and non-parametric estimation of system timescale causal structures from subsampled time series data.

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