Residual Similarity Based Conditional Independence Test and Its Application in Causal Discovery

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Title

Proceedings of the 36th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, AAAI 2022


Recently, many regression based conditional independence (CI) test methods have been proposed to solve the problem of causal discovery. These methods provide alternatives to test CI by first removing the information of the controlling set from the two target variables, and then testing the independence between the corresponding residuals Res1 and Res2. When the residuals are linearly uncorrelated, the independence test between them is nontrivial. With the ability to calculate inner product in high-dimensional space, kernel-based methods are usually used to achieve this goal, but still consume considerable time. In this paper, we investigate the independence between two linear combinations under linear non-Gaussian structural equation model. We show that the dependence between the two residuals can be captured by the difference between the similarity of (Res1, Res2) and that of (Res1, Res3) (Res3 is generated by random permutation) in high-dimensional space. With this result, we design a new method called SCIT for CI test, where permutation test is performed to control Type I error rate. The proposed method is simpler yet more efficient and effective than the existing ones. When applied to causal discovery, the proposed method outperforms the counterparts in terms of both speed and Type II error rate, especially in the case of small sample size, which is validated by our extensive experiments on various datasets.

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Knowledge Representation And Reasoning (KRR)


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