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Poster
Deep Proxy Causal Learning and its Application to Confounded Bandit Policy Evaluation
Liyuan Xu · Heishiro Kanagawa · Arthur Gretton

Thu Dec 09 12:30 AM -- 02:00 AM (PST) @ None #None

Proxy causal learning (PCL) is a method for estimating the causal effect of treatments on outcomes in the presence of unobserved confounding, using proxies (structured side information) for the confounder. This is achieved via two-stage regression: in the first stage, we model relations among the treatment and proxies; in the second stage, we use this model to learn the effect of treatment on the outcome, given the context provided by the proxies. PCL guarantees recovery of the true causal effect, subject to identifiability conditions. We propose a novel method for PCL, the deep feature proxy variable method (DFPV), to address the case where the proxies, treatments, and outcomes are high-dimensional and have nonlinear complex relationships, as represented by deep neural network features. We show that DFPV outperforms recent state-of-the-art PCL methods on challenging synthetic benchmarks, including settings involving high dimensional image data. Furthermore, we show that PCL can be applied to off-policy evaluation for the confounded bandit problem, in which DFPV also exhibits competitive performance.

Author Information

Liyuan Xu (UCL)
Heishiro Kanagawa (Gatsby Unit, University College London)
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).

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