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N-1 Experiments Suffice to Determine the Causal Relations Among N Variables

journal contribution
posted on 2004-12-07, 00:00 authored by Frederick Eberhardt, Clark Glymour, Richard Scheines
By combining experimental interventions with search procedures for graphical causal models we show that under familiar assumptions, with perfect data, N - 1 experiments suffice to determine the causal relations among N > 2 variables when each experiment randomizes at most one variable. We show the same bound holds for adaptive learners, but does not hold for N > 4 when each experiment can simultaneously randomize more than one variable. This bound provides a type of ideal for the measure of success of heuristic approached in active learning methods of casual discovery, which currently use less informative measures.


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