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Score-based Causal Representation Learning: Linear and General Transformations

Burak Var{\i}c{\i}Emre Acart\"urkKarthikeyan ShanmugamAbhishek KumarAli Tajer
Feb 2024
This paper addresses intervention-based causal representation learning (CRL) under a general nonparametric latent causal model and an unknown transformation that maps the latent variables to the observed variables. Linear and general transformations are investigated. The paper addresses both the \emph{identifiability} and \emph{achievability} aspects. Identifiability refers to determining algorithm-agnostic conditions that ensure recovering the true latent causal variables and the latent causal graph underlying them. Achievability refers to the algorithmic aspects and addresses designing algorithms that achieve identifiability guarantees. By drawing novel connections between \emph{score functions} (i.e., the gradients of the logarithm of density functions) and CRL, this paper designs a \emph{score-based class of algorithms} that ensures both identifiability and achievability. First, the paper focuses on \emph{linear} transformations and shows that one stochastic hard intervention per node suffices to guarantee identifiability. It also provides partial identifiability guarantees for soft interventions, including identifiability up to ancestors for general causal models and perfect latent graph recovery for sufficiently non-linear causal models. Secondly, it focuses on \emph{general} transformations and shows that two stochastic hard interventions per node suffice for identifiability. Notably, one does \emph{not} need to know which pair of interventional environments have the same node intervened.
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