Interventional Sum-Product Networks: Causal Inference with Tractable Probabilistic Models

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 34 pre-proceedings (NeurIPS 2021)

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Authors

Matej Zečević, Devendra Dhami, Athresh Karanam, Sriraam Natarajan, Kristian Kersting

Abstract

While probabilistic models are an important tool for studying causality, doing so suffers from the intractability of inference. As a step towards tractable causal models, we consider the problem of learning interventional distributions using sum-product networks (SPNs) that are over-parameterized by gate functions, e.g., neural networks. Providing an arbitrarily intervened causal graph as input, effectively subsuming Pearl's do-operator, the gate function predicts the parameters of the SPN. The resulting interventional SPNs are motivated and illustrated by a structural causal model themed around personal health. Our empirical evaluation against competing methods from both generative and causal modelling demonstrates that interventional SPNs indeed are both expressive and causally adequate.