Skip to yearly menu bar Skip to main content


Causal Discovery from Subsampled Time Series with Proxy Variables

Mingzhou Liu · Xinwei Sun · Lingjing Hu · Yizhou Wang

Great Hall & Hall B1+B2 (level 1) #2014
[ ] [ Project Page ]
[ Paper [ Poster [ OpenReview
Thu 14 Dec 8:45 a.m. PST — 10:45 a.m. PST


Inferring causal structures from time series data is the central interest of many scientific inquiries. A major barrier to such inference is the problem of subsampling, i.e., the frequency of measurement is much lower than that of causal influence. To overcome this problem, numerous methods have been proposed, yet either was limited to the linear case or failed to achieve identifiability. In this paper, we propose a constraint-based algorithm that can identify the entire causal structure from subsampled time series, without any parametric constraint. Our observation is that the challenge of subsampling arises mainly from hidden variables at the unobserved time steps. Meanwhile, every hidden variable has an observed proxy, which is essentially itself at some observable time in the future, benefiting from the temporal structure. Based on these, we can leverage the proxies to remove the bias induced by the hidden variables and hence achieve identifiability. Following this intuition, we propose a proxy-based causal discovery algorithm. Our algorithm is nonparametric and can achieve full causal identification. Theoretical advantages are reflected in synthetic and real-world experiments.

Chat is not available.