Center for Automated Learning and Discovery
School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University


Generalized Measurement Models

Ricardo Silva, Richard Scheines

March 2004


Keywords: Causality discovery, graphical models, latent variable models, structural equation models, data mining

Given a set of random variables, it is often the case that their associations can be explained by hidden common causes. We present a set of well-defined assumptions and a provably correct algorithm that allow us to identify some of such hidden common causes. The assumptions are fairly general and sometimes weaker than those used in practice by, for instance, econometricians, psychometricians, social scientists and in many other fields where latent variable models are important and tools such as factor analysis are applicable. The goal is automated knowledge discovery: identifying latent variables that can be used across diferent applications and causal models and throw new insights over a data generating process. Our approach is evaluated throught simulations and three real-world cases.

71 pages

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