On Experiments for Causal Inference and System Identification

Event time: 
Wednesday, March 17, 2021 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Whitney Humanities Center (WALL53), Auditorium See map
53 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511
Event description: 

In the first part of his presentation, Professor Ay will provide an introduction to the field of causal networks. He will focus on instructive simple examples in order to highlight the core conceptual and philosophical ideas that underly the theory. This approach provides a clear semantics that allows us to distinguish between causation and correlation. It also allows us to study how cause-effect relations give rise to particular kinds of correlations, which can then be exploited for inferring causal relations from correlations. However, this kind of inference, which is based on observations only, turns out to be rather limited. In addition to observing a system, one can also apply experimental interventions and thereby reveal causal structures that would not follow from correlational information. This is one instance of system identification through experimental perturbations. Professor Ay will conclude my presentation with an extension of the interventional calculus by a “knockout calculus,” which is based on a kind of structural intervention. This allows us to reveal a more fine-grained causal description of the underlying system.
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