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Oral Poster

Causal normalizing flows: from theory to practice

Adrián Javaloy · Pablo Sanchez-Martin · Isabel Valera

Great Hall & Hall B1+B2 (level 1) #822
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Tue 12 Dec 3:15 p.m. PST — 5:15 p.m. PST
Oral presentation: Oral 2C Causality
Tue 12 Dec 1:40 p.m. PST — 2:40 p.m. PST


In this work, we deepen on the use of normalizing flows for causal reasoning. Specifically, we first leverage recent results on non-linear ICA to show that causal models are identifiable from observational data given a causal ordering, and thus can be recovered using autoregressive normalizing flows (NFs). Second, we analyze different design and learning choices for causal normalizing flows to capture the underlying causal data-generating process. Third, we describe how to implement the do-operator in causal NFs, and thus, how to answer interventional and counterfactual questions. Finally, in our experiments, we validate our design and training choices through a comprehensive ablation study; compare causal NFs to other approaches for approximating causal models; and empirically demonstrate that causal NFs can be used to address real-world problems—where the presence of mixed discrete-continuous data and partial knowledge on the causal graph is the norm. The code for this work can be found at

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