Towards Robust and Versatile Causal Discovery for Business Applications
Giorgos Borboudakis*, University of Crete; Ioannis Tsamardinos,
Causal discovery algorithms can induce some of the causal relations from the data, commonly in the form of a causal network such as a causal Bayesian network. Arguably however, all such algorithms lack far behind what is necessary for a true business application. We develop an initial version of a new, general causal discovery algorithm called ETIO with many features suitable for business applications. These include (a) ability to accept prior causal knowledge (e.g., taking senior driving courses improves driving skills), (b) admit-ting the presence of latent confounding factors, (c) admitting the possibility of (a certain type of) selection bias in the data (e.g., clients sampled mostly from a given region), (d) ability to analyze data with missing-by-design (i.e., not planned to measure) values (e.g., if two companies merge and their databases measure diﬀerent attributes), and (e) ability to analyze data from diﬀerent interventions (e.g., prior and posterior to an advertisement campaign). ETIO is an instance of the logical approach to integrative causal discovery that has been relatively recently introduced and enables the solution of complex reverse-engineering problems in causal discovery. ETIO is compared against the state-of-the-art and is shown to be more eﬀective in terms of speed, with only a slight degradation in terms of learning accuracy, while incorporating all the features above. The code is available on the mensxmachina.org website.