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Nonlinear directed acyclic structure learning with weakly additive noise models
Robert E Tillman · Arthur Gretton · Peter Spirtes

Tue Dec 08 07:00 PM -- 11:59 PM (PST) @

The recently proposed \emph{additive noise model} has advantages over previous structure learning algorithms, when attempting to recover some true data generating mechanism, since it (i) does not assume linearity or Gaussianity and (ii) can recover a unique DAG rather than an equivalence class. However, its original extension to the multivariate case required enumerating all possible DAGs, and for some special distributions, e.g. linear Gaussian, the model is invertible and thus cannot be used for structure learning. We present a new approach which combines a PC style search using recent advances in kernel measures of conditional dependence with local searches for additive noise models in substructures of the equivalence class. This results in a more computationally efficient approach that is useful for arbitrary distributions even when additive noise models are invertible. Experiments with synthetic and real data show that this method is more accurate than previous methods when data are nonlinear and/or non-Gaussian.

Author Information

Robert E Tillman (Optum Labs)
Arthur Gretton (Gatsby Unit, UCL)

Arthur Gretton is a Professor with the Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit at UCL. He received degrees in Physics and Systems Engineering from the Australian National University, and a PhD with Microsoft Research and the Signal Processing and Communications Laboratory at the University of Cambridge. He previously worked at the MPI for Biological Cybernetics, and at the Machine Learning Department, Carnegie Mellon University. Arthur's recent research interests in machine learning include the design and training of generative models, both implicit (e.g. GANs) and explicit (high/infinite dimensional exponential family models), nonparametric hypothesis testing, and kernel methods. He has been an associate editor at IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence from 2009 to 2013, an Action Editor for JMLR since April 2013, an Area Chair for NeurIPS in 2008 and 2009, a Senior Area Chair for NeurIPS in 2018, an Area Chair for ICML in 2011 and 2012, and a member of the COLT Program Committee in 2013. Arthur was program chair for AISTATS in 2016 (with Christian Robert), tutorials chair for ICML 2018 (with Ruslan Salakhutdinov), workshops chair for ICML 2019 (with Honglak Lee), program chair for the Dali workshop in 2019 (with Krikamol Muandet and Shakir Mohammed), and co-organsier of the Machine Learning Summer School 2019 in London (with Marc Deisenroth).

Peter Spirtes (Carnegie Mellon University)

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