Causal Explanation Under Indeterminism: A Sampling Approach


  • Christopher Merck Stevens Institute of Technology
  • Samantha Kleinberg Stevens Institute of Technology



automated explanation, token causality, time-series data, stochastic processes


One of the key uses of causes is to explain why things happen. Explanations of specific events, like an individual's heart attack on Monday afternoon or a particular car accident, help assign responsibility and inform our future decisions. Computational methods for causal inference make use of the vast amounts of data collected by individuals to better understand their behavior and improve their health. However, most methods for explanation of specific events have provided theoretical approaches with limited applicability. In contrast we make two main contributions: an algorithm for explanation that calculates the strength of token causes, and an evaluation based on simulated data that enables objective comparison against prior methods and ground truth. We show that the approach finds the correct relationships in classic test cases (causal chains, common cause, and backup causation) and in a realistic scenario (explaining hyperglycemic episodes in a simulation of type 1 diabetes).




How to Cite

Merck, C., & Kleinberg, S. (2016). Causal Explanation Under Indeterminism: A Sampling Approach. Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 30(1).



Technical Papers: Knowledge Representation and Reasoning