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Workshop: Causal Representation Learning

Learning Causally Disentangled Representations via the Principle of Independent Causal Mechanisms

Aneesh Komanduri · Yongkai Wu · Feng Chen · Xintao Wu

Keywords: [ Causality ] [ disentangled representation learning ] [ causal representation learning ]


Learning disentangled causal representations is a challenging problem that has gained significant attention recently due to its implications for extracting meaningful information for downstream tasks. In this work, we define a new notion of causal disentanglement from the perspective of independent causal mechanisms. We propose ICM-VAE, a framework for learning causally disentangled representations supervised by causally related observed labels. We model causal mechanisms using learnable flow-based diffeomorphic functions to map noise variables to latent causal variables. Further, to promote the disentanglement of causal factors, we propose a causal disentanglement prior that utilizes the known causal structure to encourage learning a causally factorized distribution in the latent space. Under relatively mild conditions, we provide theoretical results showing the identifiability of causal factors and mechanisms up to permutation and elementwise reparameterization. We empirically demonstrate that our framework induces highly disentangled causal factors, improves interventional robustness, and is compatible with counterfactual generation.

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