A Hybrid Causal Structure Learning Algorithm for Mixed-Type Data


  • Yan Li Alibaba
  • Rui Xia Alibaba DAMO Academy
  • Chunchen Liu Alibaba Damo Academy
  • Liang Sun Alibaba Group




Machine Learning (ML)


Inferring the causal structure of a set of random variables is a crucial problem in many disciplines of science. Over the past two decades, various approaches have been pro- posed for causal discovery from observational data. How- ever, most of the existing methods are designed for either purely discrete or continuous data, which limit their practical usage. In this paper, we target the problem of causal structure learning from observational mixed-type data. Although there are a few methods that are able to handle mixed-type data, they suffer from restrictions, such as linear assumption and poor scalability. To overcome these weaknesses, we formulate the causal mechanisms via mixed structure equation model and prove its identifiability under mild conditions. A novel locally consistent score, named CVMIC, is proposed for causal directed acyclic graph (DAG) structure learning. Moreover, we propose an efficient conditional independence test, named MRCIT, for mixed-type data, which is used in causal skeleton learning and final pruning to further improve the computational efficiency and precision of our model. Experimental results on both synthetic and real-world data demonstrate that our proposed hybrid model outperforms the other state-of-the-art methods. Our source code is available at https://github.com/DAMO-DI-ML/AAAI2022-HCM.




How to Cite

Li, Y., Xia, R., Liu, C., & Sun, L. (2022). A Hybrid Causal Structure Learning Algorithm for Mixed-Type Data. Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 36(7), 7435-7443. https://doi.org/10.1609/aaai.v36i7.20707



AAAI Technical Track on Machine Learning II