A Flexible Framework for Nonparametric Graphical Modeling that Accommodates Machine Learning

Jul 12, 2020

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Graphical modeling has been broadly useful for exploring the dependence structure among features in a dataset. However, the strength of graphical modeling hinges on our ability to encode and estimate conditional dependencies. In particular, commonly used measures such as partial correlation are only meaningful under strongly parametric (in this case, multivariate Gaussian) assumptions. These assumptions are unverifiable, and there is often little reason to believe they hold in practice. In this paper, we instead consider 3 non-parametric measures of conditional dependence. These measures are meaningful without structural assumptions on the multivariate distribution of the data. In addition, we show that for 2 of these measures there are simple, strong plug-in estimators that require only the estimation of a conditional mean. These plug-in estimators (1) are asymptotically linear and non-parametrically efficient, (2) allow incorporation of flexible machine learning techniques for conditional mean estimation, and (3) enable the construction of valid Wald-type confidence intervals. In addition, by leveraging the influence function of these estimators, one can obtain intervals with simultaneous coverage guarantees for all pairs of features.

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About ICML 2020

The International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML) is the premier gathering of professionals dedicated to the advancement of the branch of artificial intelligence known as machine learning. ICML is globally renowned for presenting and publishing cutting-edge research on all aspects of machine learning used in closely related areas like artificial intelligence, statistics and data science, as well as important application areas such as machine vision, computational biology, speech recognition, and robotics. ICML is one of the fastest growing artificial intelligence conferences in the world. Participants at ICML span a wide range of backgrounds, from academic and industrial researchers, to entrepreneurs and engineers, to graduate students and postdocs.

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