Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 31 (NeurIPS 2018)
Jovana Mitrovic, Dino Sejdinovic, Yee Whye Teh
Discovering the causal structure among a set of variables is a fundamental problem in many areas of science. In this paper, we propose Kernel Conditional Deviance for Causal Inference (KCDC) a fully nonparametric causal discovery method based on purely observational data. From a novel interpretation of the notion of asymmetry between cause and effect, we derive a corresponding asymmetry measure using the framework of reproducing kernel Hilbert spaces. Based on this, we propose three decision rules for causal discovery. We demonstrate the wide applicability and robustness of our method across a range of diverse synthetic datasets. Furthermore, we test our method on real-world time series data and the real-world benchmark dataset Tübingen Cause-Effect Pairs where we outperform state-of-the-art approaches.