Allerton 2015 Paper Abstract


Paper ThB2.5

Kidambi, Rahul (University of Washington Seattle), Kannan, Sreeram (University of Washington Seattle)

On Shannon Capacity and Causal Estimation

Scheduled for presentation during the Invited Session "Information Theory and Applications" (ThB2), Thursday, October 1, 2015, 11:50−12:10, Solarium

53rd Annual Allerton Conference on Communication, Control, and Computing, Sept 29-Oct 2, 2015, Allerton Park and Retreat Center, Monticello, IL, USA

This information is tentative and subject to change. Compiled on December 5, 2021

Keywords Information Theory


The problem of estimating causal relationships from purely observational data is studied in this paper. We observe samples from a pair of random variables (X,Y) and wish to estimate whether X causes Y or Y causes X. Any joint distribution can be factored as p(X,Y) = p(X)p(Y|X) = p(Y)p(X|Y) and therefore the causal direction cannot be inferred from the joint distribution without further assumptions. In this paper, we propose and study the utility of Shannon capacity as a metric for causal directionality estimation. This opens up several open questions and directions for future study.



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